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3 1833 03239 2067 

Gc 941 . 9501 D719s 
Donovan, Daniel. 
Sketches in Carbery, county 










HERE are many interesting places within 
the confines of Carbery, which supply the 
antiquarian, historian, naturalist, and artist 
with ahundant inducements for examining into the 
records and curiosities of antiquity ; studying through 
authentic sources the warlike achievements, the social 
customs and manners of past ages and of more recent 
times, and investigating the natural phenomena, and 
admiring the beauties of scenery displayed in so 
charming a manner where'er we turn our gaze. 

Both visitor and tourist are well repaid for their 
toil and trouble whilst wandering through its hills 
and valleys, by observing views, marine and land- 
scape, at once picturesque, stern, beautiful, and diver- 
sified in the highest degree — bold, rocky headlands, 
precipitous cliffs, rugged mountains, and gently wind- 
ing and romantic harbours and bays. 

The more sublime and imposing scenery of Kil- 

larney and Grlengarriff, Ban try and (jougane Barra, 

-has been already fully dilated on by the eloquent 

vi Preface. 

pens of clever writers, or transferred to canvas with 
artistic skill by the magic brushes of skilful painters. 
Though Carbery may be comparatively barren of 
interest, when placed in contrast with such spark- 
lino- gems of the Emerald Isle, still, however, it 
possesses sufficient attractions along its picturesque 
sea-coast to entitle it to more than a passing notice 
either in poetry or prose. 

The " Sketches in Carbery," written from time to 

time at irregular intervals, during leisure hours, have 

already partly appeared in the columns of the West 

Cork Eagle. I have now collected them together 

• for publication in the form of a small volume. 

They are more or less of a superficial character, 
skimming over the surface, and wanting perhaps in 
the statistics and practical details which charac- 
terize the hand-books of a country or locality. They 
+reat in a rambling manner, as the name would 
imply (a sort of OUa Podrida), of the local history, 
legendary lore, antiquities, and topography of various 
interesting places throughout the extensive baronies 
of Carbery, county Cork. 

They do not embrace or give in consecutive order 
a complete account of the various towns, and it is 
more than probable that some topics of interest have 
been either forgotten by the writer or only casually 
referred to. I have endeavoured, however, as far as 
my limited information and knowledge of the subject 



Preface. v 

could lead me, to condense, and arrange together, all 
the leading facts and prominent occurrences, whether 
historical or otherwise, which I thought might inte- 
rest and engage the reader's attention. I am fully- 
aware that many imperfections of style, and perhaps 
some errors, hoth historical and archaeological, will 
be discovered, and which are inseparable from the 
labours of one who is comparatively a tyro in the 
domains of literature : for such I must only solicit 
the reader's lenient criticism and pardon. I have 
ventured on the publication of the present little 
work more in the hope that it may stimulate and 
induce others better qualified for tasks of a similar 
nature, to rescue from oblivion the fading memories 
of by-gone days, and bring to light some of the 
arcana of Irish local history and antiquarian lore, 
than under the impression that I could contribute 
anything stamped with the impress of originality or 
worthy of permanent record. 

Unfortunately the "manuscript materials" relating 
to ancient Carbery are few and far between, and very 
difficult of access. In the compilation and com- 
pletion of the following pages, information relating to 
the subjects' discussed has been principally obtained 
from Dr. Smith's " History of Cork," written acentury 
ago, a work displaying great talent and indefatigable 
research, and generally correct in description; " Corca 
Laidhe" (Miscellany of the Celtic Society), by the 

vi Preface. 

late John O'Donovan, LL. D., M. E. I. A., one of 

the greatest Irish scholars of any age; Lewis's 
"Topographical Dictionary;" and the manuscript 
writings of John Collins, of Hyross. The remainder 
has been supplied from personal research and obser- 
vation, so far as the striking natural features of the 
country, and its stories and legends are concerned. 

All the scattered fragments, which could be col- 
lected have been linked together, and arranged into 
somewhat of a uniform shape, and though the result 
must be looked on more as a compilation, than as an 
original production, I entertain the hope that the 
matters referred to will prove of some interest, 
though they may not supply much information to 
those who desire to be acquainted with the antiqui- 
ties of the country, sketches of the surrounding 
scenery, and the social movements of the inhabitants 
during the lapse of centuries. 

During the present century the language of ancient 
Erin, her ethnology, her laws, and her social customs 
and manners, have received considerable attention at 
the hands of scholars in various countries, who 
have devoted much time to deciphering the mouldy 
and decaying, bat important manuscripts, many 
of which were lying neglected in the State Paper 
Offices, repositories, and archives throughout Great 
Britain and continental Europe. They have traced 
up to the fountain head the primitive Celtic 

Preface. vii 

stock, and the ancient language of this branch of 
the Aryan, or Indo European races — the proge- 
nitors of progress and colonization throughout 

Zeuss and Max Miiller in Germany, Professor 
Blackie and Mr. Skene in Great Britain, and Lani- 
gan, O'Curry, Drs. O'Donovan and Petrie, &c, in 
Ireland, and a host of other distinguished writers, 
some of whom have passed off the world's stage, and 
others who are still busily engaged in learned re- 
searches, have all, by their united efforts, rescued 
from chaos and destruction the language and litera- 
ture of Ireland. 

A great amount of interest must be naturally 
attached to the antiquarian relics, and literary re- 
mains of a country, the remote history of which is 
wrapt up in so much mystery, which was styled by 
Phoenicians and Milesians Inisfail (the Isle of Des- 
tiny), Ogygia (the most ancient land), and Ierne (the 
Sacred Isle), and in more recent times Insula Sanc- 
torum et Doctorum. The latter appellation it in- 
herited during the three centuries which preceded 
the invasion of the fierce and hardy Norsemen. This 
was a sort of golden age, when Ireland shone forth 
as a bright statin the world of learning, " domi 

Celebrated seats of art and science flourished 
then both in the north and south. Bangor, Armagh, 

viii Preface. 

Cork, Lismore, Rosscarbery, &g , were celebrated for 
the learning of the teachers and professors who 
taught and lectured in their academic halls. 

In the Royal Irish Academy are still preserved 
many rare and costly reliques of remote ages, and 
invaluable manuscripts, which prove a considerable 
advance in'the arts and sciences amongst our ances- 
tors. The writer of the Prospectus to the Celtic 
Society (1847) remarks truly and eloquently: — 
" Ireland has yet Celtic scholars, of ripe and accu- 
rate learning, profound and erudite antiquarians, 
and was never more rich in that wise and public 
spirit, which is alive to the honour, and athirst for 
a true knowledge of the country." 

Unfortunately, to one engaged in writing an 
ephemeral work, such as the present, several obstacles 
are thrown in the way, as no doubt many valuable 
manuscripts treasured up within the ancient domiciles 
and ecclesiastical edifices, like Sherkin andTimoleague 
Abbeys, were destroyed or lost during the conflicts 
and civil strife of former times ; so that it is only 
through more general and remote sources, information 
pertaining to the subject matter can be obtained. 

In the arrangement and completion of this little 
volume, I have^een deeply indebted to my learned 
friends, Dr. P. "W. Joyce, M. P. I. A., whose valuable 
services have been so kindly bestowed, and gladly 
accepted of by me in the correction of the proof sheets 



whilst going through the press ; and also to Eichard 
Adams, Esq., B. L., of the editorial staff of the- 
Freeman, for many useful suggestions. 

I shall now, without any further preface, request of 
my readers to accompany me through the following 
chapters, whilst I introduce them to some of the re- 
markable places in Carbery and its Hundred Isles, 
entertaining at the same time the hope that they 
may be interested and pleased with the contents of 
this little " Sketch Book." 

Siibbereen, 1st March, 1876. 

_ A 



Carbery, its ancient History — The Old Milesian Families 
who settled there — Mac Carthy Eeagh and Kilbrittan 
Castle — Scenery along the sea-coast — A Geological 
Legend — Physical aspect of the Barony ; its Mineral 
Wealth, Climate, Picturesque Towns and Villages near 
the sea — Skibbereen, Dunmanway, Clonalsilty, &c. — 
Ecclesiastical Euins and Castles, &c 


Baltimore, derivation of name, antiquity — Expedition against 
this place in 1537 from Waterford — Charter of incorpo- 
ration in 1613 from James I. — Colonised by Sir Thomas 
Crooke — Celebrated Algerine invasion of Baltimore, 
20th June, 1631— Eeturned two M. P.s from A. D. 1 613 
to 1800, when it was disfranchised — List of M. P.s — 
Lord Baltimore, colonizer of Maryland, derived his title 
from the place — Migration of the O'Driscolls to Spain, 
the original country of their ancestors — Battle of 


xii Contents. 


A trip down the Hen river — Scenery along the banks — Kelics 
and ruins of the past — Abbey de Sancto Mauro, 
founded 1172 — Abbeystrowry — View of the adjoining 
country — Innishbeg island in the river, where Book of 
Dues was presented to St. Pachtnan, first Bishop of 
Eosscarbery, by the chieftains of Corca Laidhe — Einga 
Eoga island, and castle — Innisherkin (Inis Arcain), its 
Franciscan Abbey (A. D. 1460), subterranean cham- 
bers — General description of these curiosities of the 
Pagan age, 28 


Sherkin continued — Castle surrendered to Captain Harvey, 
A. P. 1601, after battle of Kinsale— The O'Driscolls 
during the 15th century — Full account of the invasion 
from Waterford — Digression upon the ancient Celtic 
writing known as the Ogham — Cromlechs, their history 
— The various forms of habitation in ancient times — 
Eaths, Duns, Cahirs, Crannogues, &c, ... 46 


Cape Clear (Insula Sanctte Claris) — The Gasconane Sound — 
Captain Boyton's daring swim through the Gasconane 
(1875) from the American packet — Lands atTrafraska 
Bay, near Paltimore — General view of the island, size, 
population, scenery — Carbery's Hundred Isles surround 
us — Curious separation of Inisfadda (Long Island, near 
Skull) into three distinct portions by a thunderstorm 
in the 9th century — Sherkin and Cape Clear most 
probably united to the mainland as a promontory in 
remote ages — The Fisheries of Cape, climate, longevity, 
great physical strength and endurance of the inhabi- 
tants — Smith and Lewis's favourable opinion of them 
— Distress in Cape during 1862 — Father Leader's 
noble exertions on behalf of the poor people — Eeview 
of Father O'Eourke's work on the Irish Famine of 
1847 — Benevolence of Baroness Burdett Coutts towards 
the islanders, ... 60 

Contents. xiii 


Cape Clear continued — History of St. Kieran, patron saint of 
the island — Description of a severe storm in Cape 
~~ during February, 1874 — Dunanore Castle, and .the 
legend connected with it — General description of the 
ancient feudal castles, their architecture and internal 
economy — Beautiful view from Dun-an-Ore — A glance 
at Irish history during the close of the 16th cen- 
tury, 80 


The O'Driscoll pedigree — The aboriginal Milesian colonists of 
Carbery — Sir Walter Coppinger — Petition against his 
encroachments by the Mayor and Burgesses of Balti- 
more—The Telegraph Station on Cape very important 
during the American war — The old Lighthouse, and 
magnificent sea view from there — The Signal Tower — 
Fir breogach — Lough Errul ; habits and manners of 
the people — Cape Clear, a miniature kingdom, an 
"Imperium in Imperio" down to A. D. 1700 — Crua- 
thar O'Karevaun (O'Driscoll) the celebrated giant — 
Agriculture of the island, &c, &c, .... 99 


The Skeams, Lough Hyne — The rapids, lakej surrounding 
mountains, said by geologists to be the result of vol- 
canic action — Scenery in the neighbourhood — Poem on 
Lough Hyne — Legend about the old castle — Labhra 
Loingseach — Bill Barrett's midnight visit in search of 
the golden treasure hidden beneath the castle— Saint 
Bridget's chapel and well — Pillar stone and sculptured 
cross — Story connected with them — View from the 
adjoining eminence 116 


Coast line from Lough Hyne to Castlehaven — Tithe riots — 
Naval engagement in Castletownsend Harbour, between 
the Spanish forces under Don Pedro de Zuibar and the 

xiv Contents. 


English under Admiral Levison, on the 6th December, 
1601 — Battle of Kinsale — Departure of O'Donnell 
from Castlehaven for Spain — Mr. Froude's discovery 
about the real cause of O'Donnell's death — Interesting 
relic of the O'Donnells in the Boyal Irish Academy — 
Remarkable Cathair and ruins of Clochan on Knock- 
dromma Hill, near Castletownsend — Beautiful view 
from it, &c., 130 


Myross — The O'Donovans — Baunlaghan — Smith's account of 
the Dadagh Scene at Blarney Castle — History of the 
Clancahill or senior branch of the O'Donovans — The 
Mealagh river — Castle Donovan — A condensed account 
of the O'Donovans' genealogy down to the beginning 
of the present century — Castle Ivor — Lough Cluhir 
and the legend about Ivor— John Collins of Myross, a 
brief account of his life — Myross continued — The Cis- 
tercian Abbey of Carrigilehy — The old fishing hamlet, 
and the wreck of the smuggled cargo of brandy — 
Squince House, seat of the Clanloughlin O'Donovans — 
Shipwreck at Blind Harbour — Dean Swift and the 
"Carberia Rupes"— "Harrington's Lights," 1832— 
Mysterious appearance at Union Hall — Letters on this 
wonderful occurrence from a writer in the New Monthly 
Magazine, and Doctor Donovan, senior, of Skibbe- 
reen, 153 


Glandore, origin of the name— Fairy legend about the Prin- 
cess Qeena — Carraic Cleena — Remarks on both by 
Drs. Todd and Joyce, M. R.I. A. — Glandore Castle — 
The Fisheries — Spirited exertions of James Redmond 
Barry, Esq. — Poem on Glandore— Capture of a whale 
— Myross House — The Leap — Smith's account of the 
dangerous passage across the ravine — Ballinlough — 
Lis-an-Earla and the legend of Tir-na-nOgue — Lough 
Adereen, and the floating islands — Fairs, faction fights, 
and festivities — Philosopher Thompson and the co- 
operative communities — Scenery between Ross and 
Glandore — Pouladav, curious formation — Ballyverine 




House, or Coppinger's Court, and a short sketch of 
Sir Walter Coppinger— Benduff Castle, its history— 
The Morrises — Penn, &c, 184 


Rosscarbery, of ancient origin— Great seat of sanctity and 
learning in former times— Professor Spalding on the 
antiquity of Irish Histories — Ross Aillithir (wood of 
the pilgrims : Joyce)— Scenery in the neighbourhood 
— St. Fachnan, patron saint of Ross, founds an ancient 
abbey here— Dr. Lynch, Killala, on derivation of Ross 
— Former extent of diocese— Legend about St. Fach- 
nan — Toumpleen-na-Fachna — Hantner and Camden 
on Ross — St. Brendan — Retrospective view of the dis- 
tinguished bishops of this venerable See— Ross Cathe- 
dral, general account — Curious case of trance, or 
suspended animation — Modern pilgrimage to the tomb 

of the Rev. John Power, P.P Ross graveyard, &c — 

Conclusion, 216 




Carbery, its ancient History — The Old Milesian Families who 
settled there — Mac Carthy Reagh, and Kilbrittan Castle — Scenery 
along the Sea-coast— A G-eological Legend — Physical Aspect of 
the barony ; its Mineral Wealth, Climate, Picturesque Towns and 
Villages near the Sea — Skibbereen, Dunmanway, Clonakilty, &c. 
— Ecclesiastical Ruins and Castles, &c. 

| HE ancient name of Carbery was Corca 
Laidhe, which., translated, means the marshy 
territory belonging to the tribe of Laidhe 
or Lug Ith (the lesser Ith), who was son of Ith, the 
paternal uncle of Milesius. (See " Miscellany of the 
Celtic Society"). It is said in the "Annals of the Four 
Masters" thatLuglth acompaniedthe sons of Milesius 
to Ireland, about fourteen centuries before the Chris- 
tian Era He was ancestor to the O'Driscolls, whom 
we must rightly consider as the aboriginal Milesian 
or Gradelian settlers in Carbery. Moore, in one of 
his melodies, alludes to the generally accepted opinion 
of the Milesians having come originally from Spain 
to Ireland as colonists : 

" They came from a land beyond the rjea, 
And now o'er the western main, 
Set sail in their good ships gallantly 
From the sunny land of Spain." 

2 Sketches in Carbery. 

Corca Laidhe territory extended formerly from 
Kenmare river on the west to the Bandon river on 
the east. Its northern boundaries were not so well 
defined, and, the country being mountainous and 
barren in that direction, in all probability the Ban try 
(Meallach) and Bandon rivers and the mountain 
range between Dunmanway and Bantry formed the 
limits of this territory, which was reduced consider- 
ably in- extent shortly after the Anglo-Norman 
invasion of Ireland. It comprised within its area 
39 parishes, including a large tract of country at 
present situated in the baronies of Bear, Bantry, 
Kinalea, Kinalmeaky, Ibane and Barryroe. In fact 
this ancient territory formerly exceeded in size several 
of the present Irish counties. 

The surface of the land during the 12th and 13th 
centuries presented a very different aspect from what 
it now exhibits. Large tracts were covered with 
marshes, bogs, and moorlands, which at present pro- 
duce rich crops and form good pasture land. Forests 
of oak, birch, alder, fir, and yew were also thickly 
scattered over the country. The fir trees must have 
grown in greater abundance than the other varieties, 
as their remains are more abundant in the bogs than 
the relics of all the rest combined. In the far distant 
- past Corca Laidhe must have been a very wild country 
in the interior, thinly populated, a large portion 
covered with marshes and primeval forests, watered 
by numerous streams, and having a very damp 
climate. Nevertheless, along the sea-coast there 
were traces of cultivation and advancement, where 
it presented the same picturesque and romantic 
aspect which it displays at present. 

So far back as the reign of the Boman Emperor 
Adrian, in the 2nd century, Ptolemy, the celebrated 

Sketches in Car ben/. 


geographer and astronomer of that period, was 
familiar with, the coast of Carbery. In one of his 
maps he prominently marks out the Mizen Head 
(Notium Promontoriuni), and, also, describes the 
territory as being inhabited by the " Iberi," which 
points significantly to the origin of the inhabitants 
from a Spanish source — Iberia being the old name 
of Spain. Considerable traffic formerly prevailed 
between Spain and the inhabitants residing between 
Baltimore and Berehaven. Spanish colonists settled 
down along the coast, and intermarried with the 
original settlers. The Spanish type of feature amongst 
many of their descendants is evident to the most 
casual observer even at present. 

Corca Laidhe was originally co-extensive with 
the diocese of Eoss, founded by St. Fachna, one of 
the O'Driscoll race, in the 6th century. Long ' 
before the English invasion the O'Mahonys, whose 
stronghold formerly was in the neighbourhood ' of 
Bandon (Drohid Mahon), made a raid upon the 
O'Driscoll territory and possessed themselves of the 
western portion of Corca Laidhe, bordering the sea 
called Ivahah or Evagh (the western land), which • 

comprised the parishes of Kilmoe, Skull (Scoole) 
Kilcrohane, Durrus, Kilmaconogue, and Caheragh! 
Along the coast they erected the castles of Bossbrinj 
Ardintenant, Leamcon, and the three castles at Three 
Castle Head ; also, Dunbeacon and Dunmanus castles. ^ 

The O'Mahony, of Kossbrin, in the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth was a celebrated pirate. Sir George Carew 
attacked his castle, and battered down the western ^ 

side of it. _ A very valuable old manuscript is still 
extant, entitled the "Psalter of Kossbrin." It gives -' 

a detailed account of the family history, and exploits 
of the O'Mahonys. After the Anglo-Norman inva- 

2* ) 




4 Sketchesi'n Garbery. 

si on of 1170 further encroachments were made on 
this territory hj the English, and also by the Irish 
septs, who were driven out of their original seats in 
the counties of Limerick and Tipperary. A sort of 
triangular duel took place, the Barrys, the Butlers, 
and the Fitzgeralds attacking the Mac Carthys, the 
O'Mahonys, the O'Sullivans, and the O'Donovans, 
who in their turn fell back in no amiable mood how- 
ever on the O'Driscolls, who came off third best, the 
greater part of their territory being swallowed up. 

In the year 1192 the O'Sullivans, who had been 
originally located about Cnoc-Raffon and Clonmel 
(Cluain-Meala), in the present county Tipperary, 
were forced to migrate to the south, and wrested from 
the O'Driscolls that portion of Corca Laidhe now 
known as the baronies of Bear and Bantry. The 
Barrys and O'Cowhigs seized on the eastern portion 
\ of the principality, now Ibane and Barryroe. Along 

the coast in this vicinity the latter erected the castles 
of Dundeide, Dunworley, and Doneen, whilst the 
Barrys erected near Ross the castle of Rath-Barry, 
the modern name of which is Castle Freke. The 
O'Donovans, about the same period, viz. the close 
of the 12th century, retreated to the south from their 
ancestral domains on the banks of the river Maigue, 
county Limerick, where they occupied a territory 
called Cairbre Aebha (beautiful), situated in the 
barony of Coshma, near Kilmallock (the Baalbec of 
Ireland). They were expelled by the Fitzgeralds, 
who then took up their abode in Limerick. The 
O'Donovans settled down finally in the mountainous 
district of Corca Laidhe, known at present as the 
parish of Drimoleague, after defeating the original 
proprietors ; to their newly-acquired possessions they 
transferred the tribe name of the family Cairbre. It 



Sketches in Carbery. 5 

was also called ClancaHll, and the former name, as 
O'Donovan tells us in " The Annals of the Four 
Masters," by a strange whim of custom was extended 
during the 13th century to the entire tract of country, 
known at present as the Baronies of Carbery, super- 
seding the old name of Cofca Laidhe. In the begin- 
ning of the 13th century the chief Irish septs 
inhabiting Carbery were the MacCartlrys, O'Dris- 
colls, O'Sullivans, O'Donovans, O'Mahonys, O'Heas, 
O'Learys, O'Cowhigs (Coffey), OFlynns, O'Henni- 
gans, &c. 

Smith says of the eight families of royal extraction 
of this period in the county of Cork, four belonged 
to Carbery, viz.: — The MacCarthys, O'Mahonys, 
O'Driscolls, and O'Donovans. A. D. 1232 Cormac 
Grott, third son of M'Carthy Mor, invaded and 
acquired supreme power over this territory, and his 
descendants established a sort of dynasty, the head 
of the family Mac Carthy Eeagh (swarthy) was styled 
Prince of Carbery, his chief residence being Kilbrit- 
tain Castle, near Timoleague, the original seat of the 
De Courceys, Lords of Kinsale, who came to Ireland 
first in the reign of Henry II. According to good 
authority the date of its erection was 1035, which 
has been plainly deciphered on the walls of the castle. 
A strange story is related how one of the M'Carthy 
Reaghs became possessed of Kilbrittain. One of 
the De Courceys borrowed a white ferret from 
M'Carthy, and allowed the latter to hold the castle 
pro tern, as a security for the loan of the ferret. The 
animal died whilst in De Courcey's possession, and 
Mac Carthy, according to stipulation, became Lord 
of Kilbrittain Manor. Such is the story or tra- 

In the beginning of the 17th century the O'Dris- 



Sketches in Carbery. 

coll territory had been reduced within a narrow com- 
pass by the various encroachments of surrounding 
foes. It constituted a territory (a rural deanery) 
styled Colleymore and Colleybeg, including the 
parishes of Myross, Grlanbarahane (now Castlehaven), 
Tullagh, Creagh, Aghadoune and Cleere. The 
names Colleymore and Colleybeg are still' retained, 
being two townlands on the banks of the Hen, near 
Innisbeg, and Eingarogue islands. In 1636, accord- 
ing to O'Donovan, "the entire of O'DriscolTs County, 
as well as these of O'Donovans, and O'Mahonys, and 
several septs of the MacCarthys, paid tribute to 
Mac Carthy Eeagh." The Barony of Carbery, though 
at present reduced in size, is of very consider- 
able extent, being 40 miles in length, containing 46 
parishes, comprising 360,933 acres, equal in area to 
some Irish counties. 

The sea coast, as I have already remarked, presents 
scenery of the most picturesque character, and is 
intersected in a remarkable degree by numerous 
bays, harbours, and narrow winding inlets of the 
sea. They form beautiful summer resorts, and afford 
safe shelter to shipping, and splendid centres for 
prosperous fisheries, which latter languish at present 
through want of capital, enterprise, and encourage- 
ment — without which they Cannot, of course, be 
developed. What strikes the eye of the tourist, 
especially when travelling through the west of the 
arony, is the almost endless profusion of huge 
boulders of rook cropping up out of the soil, or 
detached and distinct from the bed on which they 
lie. In some places they overhang the rude mountain 
pathway, merely poised upon the pinnacle of some pro- 
jecting mound, and seeming to threaten immediate 
destruction to the passer-by. The summits and sides 


Sketches in Carbery. 7 

of many are covered with moss and lichens, and draped 
in folds of holly and ivy ; they look like 

" Giants of old turned to stone by some magic spell." 

There is a very large one of these detached masses 
on the road between Glengarriff and Berehaven, to 
which some fanciful resemblance to a judge has been 
made out ; it has a grave and dignified appearance, 
the wig is represented by a thick covering of grey 
lichens, the body being draped in robes of ancient 
moss and red berried holly. Near the Priest's Leap 
is another with a cup-shaped depression, and tra- 
dition affirms that this cup never runs dry, contain- 
ing even during the driest season some water, which 
is supposed to -well up continually from a secret 
spring within the rock. 

There is a geological legend connected with the 
history of those rocks, for geology as well as history 
can dwell in the region of romance. Some thousands 
of years ago, as geologists tell us, in the antedi- 
luvian and pre-historic age of the world, a number 
of icebergs from the frozen deep of the Arctic 
regions went on an excursion to more southern climes. 
As companions of their voyage they were accom- 
panied by large massive blocks of stone, which had 
been safely imbedded within their crystal walls. 
"Whilst travelling to the south some of the icebergs 
paid a visit to Carbery, and under the influence of 
its warm and genial climate, they fell into a melting 
mood, and gradually dissolved away, allowing their 
more durable and solid companions to be quietly 
deposited on the hills and valleys of the Emerald 
Isle. Here they secured for themselves fixity of 
tenure, and some of them became rooted in the soil, 
taking up a position and obtaining a holding from 

8 Sketches in Carbery. 

which they cannot he easily disturbed, and this is 
the origin and true version, according to literati, of 
the most remarkable of the " Rupes Carberiae." 

The Baronies of Qarbery occupy a very large area, 
about 600 square miles, with a population, according 
to the census of 1871, of 88,241, and a valuation of 
houses and land for 1874, of £146,389, exceeding 
considerably in all these figures, when taken con- 
jointly, any other barony in the county Cork. They 
contain forty-six parishes, and the land — though 
rough, rocky, marshy, and mountainous to some 
extent — is fertile and arable in a great degree, espe- 
cially the east barony. 

The best land in "West Carbery is said to be the 
parish of Myross, called, owing to its fertility, in the 
Irish language, Garry or The Garden. The patches 
between the rocks and hillocks, when properly re- 
claimed, are most productive. In olden times the 
land was covered with extensive forests, which have 
been hewn down long ago ; and the country is now 
very destitute of trees, a more extensive planting of 
which would not only increase the picturesque aspect 
of the scenery, but also improve the climate, and 
afford more shelter and protection in stormy weather. 
Owing to the nature of the subsoil, and the earth 
being retentive of moisture, a very complete system 
of drainage is necessary, and also a careful process 
of tillage, ploughing and subsoiling at short intervals, 
and greater attention should be given to the eradi- 
cation of weeds. The soil is not particularly well 
adapted for being laid out in pasture land, as, when 
allowed to remain in statu quo for a period of about 
five years, it is sure to revert into a wild, pristine 
state of nature, and present a most uncultivated 
appearance — covered and overrun with furze and 


Sketches in Carbery. 9 

ferns, rushes and moss, thereby converting into a 
mere useless waste what might, under a better system 
of agriculture, be fertile and useful land. Such a 
condition of things throughout the west of the barony 
is still, in some instances, familiar to the eye of the 
most careless observer. The aspect of the land has, 
however, improved much of late years, and numerous 
acres, formerly occupied by bogs and morasses, have 
been thoroughly reclaimed by drainage, &c. A com- 
plete reclamation of the waste lands of Carbery, which 
supply a more than fair proportion to the grand total 
for Ireland, would add materially to the prosperity 
of the country, but cannot possibly be accomplished 
for many years to come by private capital and enter- 
prise unless supplemented by state aid. 

The geological formation of the barony is slate, 
or shale, and old red sandstone, the latter predomi- 
nating along the coast. There is a complete absence 
of limestone, necessitating the importation of lime 
from the north of the county, and also the carriage 
of the rich and fertilising sand from Bantry, Clona- 
kilty, &c, into the interior. This sand is very rich 
in carbonate of lime, and is indispensable as a manure 
for wet and boggy land. The sea-coast also sup- 
plies in abundance the sea-weed which is so exten- 
sively used by the farmers for top-dressing the land, 
being in universal request for the potato crops near 
the sea-shore. 

Although "West Carbery has more rugged features 
and less arable land than the last barony — the 
scenery is more diversified, and of a wilder and more 
romantic character. It possesses two sources of 
wealth, which we might truly assert are in a stagnant 
and semi-latent condition — the fisheries along the 
coast and the mineral wealth buried within deep re- 

10 Sketches in Carbery. 

cesses of mountains. Mr. Guy, of Cork, in his re- 
cently printed "Directory for the City and County 
of Cork," which contains a great deal of useful infor- 
mation, enumerates the numerous metallic lodes and 
veins in the county, the majority of which are in 
Carbery, viz. : « (1) Copper in Bantry, Eossbrin, 
Ballydehob, Dunmanway, Skull, Crookhaven (with 
silver bearing lead). The Cappagh Mine, Ballyde- 
hob, was first opened early in the present century by 
Colonel Hall, a Devonshire gentleman. Castle- 
townsend, with lead and antimony; Boss, with 
manganese ; Clonakilty, with lead ; (2) Sulphate of 
Barytes, Skull, Boscarbery, Bantry, Clonakilty; 
(3) Lead, Leap, with iron; (4) Iron was extensively 
worked in former times at Aghadown and Boaring 
Water. The working of the mines was suspended 
in a great measure owing to the failure of the supply 
of wood, requisite for the smelting of the ore. (5) 
Manganese, Boss, Leap ; (6) Slates, Carrigbuy, Sher- 
km, Drimoleague, Curragalickey, (Bandore, Boss, 
Gaily Head, Clonakilty, Timoleague." The quarry 
at Benduff is worked on a most extensive scale, the 
slates being, in the opinion of many, equal to those 
of Bangor. _ The works are conducted by steam, on 
the most scientific principles, under the management 
of James Swanton, Esq., A.M., and large quantities 
are exported to various parts of the United Kingdom. 
Here is evidence of great mineral resources, which 
only require additional labour and investment of capi- 
tal in order to extract out of the bowels of the earth 
the hidden treasures concealed beneath the surface. 

The climate of Carbery, though humid, is re- 
markably mild and equable, no great alternations of 
heat and cold. The temperature in the winter is even 
2 deg. higher than that of many places on the conti- 

'■'.'"■^Jl '--I""- 

Sketches in Carbery. 11 

nent, ten degrees of latitude farther south. The flora 
give evidence of the genial nature of our climate. 
The laurustinum, myrtle, fuschia, hydrangea, &c., 
growing and thriving in the open air, whilst many 
rare shrubs, indigenous to' the shores of the Mediter- 
ranean and the tropical regions of South America, 
flourish along the sea-coast and come to maturity in 
the open air. There are many beautiful inlets of 
the sea, pleasant places of retreat in summer for 
invalids or pleasure seekers ; picturesque localities, 
which impress visitors much with the beauty of our 
scenery, and the mildness and salubrity of our 
climate, as, for instance, Rosscarbery, Grlandore, 
Castletownshend, Baltimore, and Skull. Most 
desirable localities can here be found for a seaside 
residence, possessing more natural attractions, and 
decidedly more sanitary advantages, than many of 
the more fashionable marine resorts and vaunted 
sanitoria of other countries. 

Whereverwe turn we enjoy the bracing effects of the 
sea-breeze — balmy, fresh, and pure from the waters 
of the wide Atlantic. The summer months are 
delightful, the climate being so temperate and whole- 
some, and during the winter months, though many 
- complain of the great rainfall, scarcely any frost or 
snow occurs to produce a severity of season. This 
climatic' tendency is accounted for by the fact that a 
branch of the great gulf-stream impinging on the 
south-west coast of Ireland tends, by its benign in- 
fluence, to equalize and temper the climate in a re- 
markable degree. It also accounts, more or less, for 
the moisture of the atmosphere, and the growth in 
some places of tropical plants. Places so remote, 
owing to the want of proper facility of access, have 
been more or less cut off from the stirring events 

12 Sketches in Carbery. 

which agitate the busy world outside. It only re- 
quires railway communication, which will be soon 
established; enterprise in the building of rural villas; 
careful cultivation and judicious planting of trees in 
the surrounding country, so that art may lend her 
influence to add an additional charm to the beauties 
of nature. Then, indeed, the places alluded to will 
gain a widespread and well-deserved reputation 
with visitors and tourists, and Carbery will no longer 
be in the future, as it has been in the past, a sort of 
" Terra Incognita." 

The name of Carbery is not exclusively confined 
to Munster, as there is a barony of the same name 
in the county Kildare, on the verge of the Bog of 
Allen, and another Carbery, an extensive barony 
divided into Upper and Lower, in the county Sligo, 
in which the town of Sligo is situated. However, it 
is to the Carbery of Cork, by far the most important 
of the three, that I must direct attention. The most 
ancient town or village in Carbery was, undoubtedly, 
Baltimore at the mouth of the Hen. It was the 
central point of the O'Driscoll territory, the seat of 
civil power, where subsequently an important town 
sprung up, near the walls of Dun-na-Sead Castle. Its 
early origin dates back from time immemorial, and at 
a former period it was considered the nucleus of the 
fisheries along the coast, and carried on an extensive 
trade. Rosscarbery was also a town of great anti- 
quity, the seat of ecclesiastical authority, and a place 
to which, as Camden says, " resorted all the South 
"West of Ireland for learning's sake," founded in the 
6th century by St. Fachtnan ; but to the history of 
Ross I will refer at more extended length on a future 

After the invasion and destruction of Baltimore 


Sketches an Carbery. 13 

by the Algerine pirates, A.D. 1631, that ancient 
town fell to decay, and some of the wealthiest in- 
habitants, who escaped being captured, deserted the 
locality, and settled in the neighbourhood of Skib- 
bereen, and from this period, viz. the middle of the 
17th century, we must date the enrolling of Skib- 
bereen upon the list of notable and rising towns in 
the south of the county. Previous to the date re- 
ferred to Skibbereen was a puny village, like Eome 
in its infancy. The name Skibbereen, or Skubbareen, 
is of doubtful origin, a puzzle to philologists and 
antiquarians, and still sub judice. 

Dr. Joyce seems to think Skibbereen meant a 
place of skiffs, which used to ply across the river be- 
fore the erection of the bridges at the Steam Mill 
and Abbey. Skibbereen and the adjacent country 
were formerly a portion of the domain surrounding 
Grortnaclohy castle (Castleisland) and belonged to 
M'Carthy Beagh, of Kilbrittain. There is scarcely 
a vestige of the old castle remaining — the site of the 
"baun," however, and traces of; the foundations, are 
still visible. In the time of Cromwell, in the middle 
of the 17th century, the M'Carthy estate was for- 
feited, and Skibbereen and the lands of Gortnaclohy, 
Smorane, and Coronea were granted to William 
Prigg (an appropriate name) and Samuel Hall, who 
changed the name of Skibbereen or Skubbareen to 
New Stapletown; this latter name however was soon 
replaced by the former euphonious appellation. The 
eastern and greater part of the town is at present 
situated in the parish of Creagh, being the Beecher 
property, whilst that portion, the south and west, 
known as Bridgetown and Townshend-street, belong 
to the Townshend estate. 

In the year 1691 a battle took place in the vicinity 


14 Sketches in Carbery. 

of the town, between a detachment of James the 
Second's forces and Colonel Beecher, who received 
a commission under William the Third. Three years 
afterwards a party of rapparees entered the town, 
attacked the custom-house, which they plundered, 
and killed the two revenue officers. Dr. Dive 
Downes, who was Protestant bishop of Cork during 
the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th cen- 
tury, made a tour of his diocese on horseback ; the 
roads were narrow, and impassable for carriages in 
those days. He visited Skibbereen in 1699, and left 
a record of what he observed there. He stopped at 
Lady Catherine Barclay's house, Bridgetown. The 
illustrious Thackeray, in his rambles through Ireland, 
paid a visit to Skibbereen. In his work entitled 
" The Irish Sketch Book," he has given some humor- 
ous and interesting sketches of the town, and his 
visit to the "Beecher Arms" Hotel. Lewis, who 
compiled his " Topographical Dictionary" in 1837, 
mentions how Skibbereen had formerly " a very con- 
siderable trade in the manufacture of woollen cloth, 
linen checks, and handkerchiefs, which has altogether 
declined." The same applies to most of the towns 
in Carbery. The appearance of King Cotton on the 
stage was most destructive to the welfare of the linen 
weavers, whom he put to flight. Of late years there 
has been a flax revival, the growth of which ought 
to be more encouraged. 

The population of Skibbereen has decreased con- 
siderably within the last thirty years ; it was previously 
nearly 5,000, and it is now only 3,700, a decrease to 
be attributed to famine and emigration. The appear- 
ance of the town has improved much of late years, 
and it is steadily advancing in the path of progress 
— extensive gas-works, water- works, and telegraphic 

Sketches in Carbery. 15 

communication established ; handsome public build- 
ings have also been erected. Being a busy centre 
of trade, occupied by an intelligent, enterprising, 
and industrious population, it promises to advance 
in prosperity. A very extensive trade is carried out 
on Saturdays, and very large quantities of butter 
and other provisions, and live stock are exported 
continually. "When railway communication with 
Dunmanway, Bandon, and Cork has been completed 
— the work is at present in active progress — Skibbe- 
reen will be the terminus of the line, and ought to 
advance considerably in a commercial point of view, 
as the town will be ipso facto the metropolis of the 
"West Riding, and very probably an assize town also 

"Want of space prevents me at present from taking 
more than a mere cursory glance at the other towns 
of the West Biding, a full description of which is 
given by Lewis and Bennett, and also in the Parlia- 
mentary Gazeteer, by Fullarton, a very rare work. 
Smith also, in his " History of Cork," gives a detailed 
interesting account of their history, and other im- 
portant features. In East Carbery the chief town 
is Clonakilty, the derivation of the word is considered 
to be the stone of the woods (Clough-na-kilte), from 
the fact of the country around being formerly exten- 
sively wooded, and some remarkable pillar stones 
existing near the town. The country in the neigh- 
bourhood of Clonakilty is fertile and productive. In 
1613 — in the time of James I. — Sir Richard Boyle, 
first Earl of Cork, obtained a charter of incorporation 
for the town about the same time that Baltimore was 
granted a sovereign, free burgesses and commonalty. 
In 1641, 1691, and 1798, engagements and skir- 
mishes took place at Clonakilty, between Royalists 

16 Sketches in Carbery. 

Parliamentarians, &c. About a mile to the north 
of the town a very perfect droidical temple, some of 
the stones equalling in size those of Stonehenge, is 
to be seen — a great antiquarian curiosity. The popu- 
lation, according to the census in 1871, was about 
3,600. The cotton and linen manufactures of this 
town formerly were most extensive, the latter afford- 
ing employment to 400 looms, and 1,000 persons, 
and the former to 40 looms. The weekly sales some- 
times attained to the large sum of £1,000. These 
manufactures, it is much to be regretted, have fallen 
to decay. There is a considerable export from Clona- 
kilty in the corn trade. The late Dr. Collins, B. O. 
Bishop of Cloyne and Boss, a man of distinguished 
talents, was born in Clonakilty. Lewis refers to this 
circumstance in his work. He says: "The late 
Michael Collins, D. D., B. C. Bishop of Cloyne and 
Boss, who was author of several tracts on the state 
of Ireland, and was examined before a select com- 
mittee of the House of Commons in 1825," was a 
native of this place. Dr. Collins subsequently re- 
sided in Skibbereen, and it was owing to his active 
exertions that the spacious and handsome B. C. 
Cathedral and the National Schools were erected. 

Dunmanway, another important town in Carbery, 
has many interesting associations connected with it, 
formerly the seat of a branch of the M'Carthys, who 
settled down in the valley of Grleanachroim, where they 
exercised a semi-regal sway, and built for themselves 
famed Togher ?nd Dunmanway Castles, which latter 
means the fort with the yellow gables or pinnacles. 
Dunmanway owed its rise to importance as a manu- 
facturing centre, chiefly linen, to the exertions of Sir 
Bichard Cox, who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland 
in the time of William III. He was Lord of the 

Sketches in Carter y. 17 

manor, and erected a handsome mansion for himself 
near the town. He was drowned accidentally in a 
small lake near Dunmanway. 

I would fain linger at more length, and dwell on 
details of interest about Clonakilty, Dunmanway, 
Skull, with its wild and charming scenery; Crook- 
haven, that famous port of call for distressed merchant 
ships, and the other rising towns and picturesque 
villages in Carbery. However, it would be impos- 
sible to bring all their striking features before the 
public in a proper light within such a limited space, 
and I must, therefore, unwillingly, for the present, 
commit them to a temporary and unmerited silence 
and oblivion. 

Of ecclesiastical ruins and castles, Carbery possesses 
an ample store. The most remarkable and handsome 
of the Abbeys was that of Timoleague, called after 
St. Molaga, Tigh-ATolaga (house of Molaga.) It was 
built in A.D. 1320, by Donald M'Carthy Eeagh, 
Prince of Carbery. In 1400 the Franciscan monks 
occupied it. In the reign of Henry VII. Edmund 
De Courcey, (brother to Lord Einsale), who had 
been a Franciscan, and was subsequently Bishop of 
Eoss (1494) re-edified the Abbey, built the beautiful 
Gothic tower, which still preserves its graceful pro- 
portions, and also some of the dormitories, infirmary, 
and library. He died in 1518, and was buried in a small 
mortuary chapel in one of the transepts of the Abbey. 
Timoleague Abbey was the final resting place of the 
M'Cartbys, Barrys, De Courceys, ODonovaus, and 
O'Heas. The most ancient Abbey in Carbery was the 
one called Abbey deSanctoMauro atCarrigillihyinthe 
parish of Myross, built in 1170 by Dermot M'Carthy, 
king of Cork ; it was of the Cistercian Order, and 
richly endowed ; all traces of the building have dis- 


1$ Sketches in Carter//. 

appeared. Abbeystrowry, near Skibbereen, was a 
sub-branch of this institution. Sberkin Abbey, built 
after the model of Kilcrea, belonged to the Francis- 
can order; it was erected in 1460 by the O'Driscolls, 
and is still in tolerably good preservation. The 
architecture, both as regards strength and beauty of 
design, still gives evidence of a high perfection in 
that art, at the period in which these buildings 
flourished. Their occupants were men of refined 
culture, and studious, peaceful, and gentle habits, 
who rescued from destruction the lamp of learning, 
and exercised a civilizing and benign influence over 
the rude manners and fierce passions of the dark and 
feudal ages. 

Everywhere we perceive relics of the olden times 
— the raths, tumuli, cromlechs, and pillar-stones, 
the works of a pagan age. Whilst guarding the 
mountain passes, like grim sentinels on the watch, 
or in the centre of secluded valleys, or, perhaps, 
perched upon the pinnacle of some rocky peninsula 
which projects into the sea, and whose beetling cliffs 
frown upon the raging surf beneath, we observe the im- 
posing castles, feudal fortresses of former days. There 
they stand erect, as monuments of the past — land- 
marks of history, "foot-prints in the sands of time" — 

" Still braving the tempest's shock, 

Like Corinack's fane o'er the golden plain, 
Crowning the crested rock." 

As we wander round these interesting relics of the 
olden time, a flood of ideas rushes on the mind, asso- 
ciations of the past are re- called. In the words of a 
distinguished poet, a native of Cork, J. J. Callanan, 
who died in Lisbon, 1829, I may add — 

" We glean the grey legend, that long had been sleeping, 
Where the mist and the rain o'er its beauty was creeping." 

Sketches in Carbenj. 19 

From out the castles' massive portals, some centuries 
ago, oft issued the warlike and chivalrous chieftain 
at the head of his gallowglasses and kernes, with 
their saffron robes and bright battle-axes, armed for 
a foray on some obnoxious neighbour, or to wage 
unequal war with the trained and disciplined troops 
of the Anglo-Norman invaders, who were shielded 
in armour cap-a-pie, and mounted on high-mettled 
steeds. "Within the walls, where now solitude reigns 
supreme, and the ivy clambers around the deserted 
chambers undisturbed, the only sound that breaks 
upon the air is the beating of the waves upon the 
rock-bound coast, or the scream of the wild bird dis- 
turbed from its repose. What a change from the 
time when the warrior knights and leaders of the clan, 
around the gay and festive board, recorded their 
brave and warlike deeds, their hair-breadth 'scapes 
through flood and field, the Scanachie recited the 
legends and family traditions of the olden time, and 
the poetic minstrel tuned his harp, and poured forth 
his soul in song: " Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur 
in illis." However, it would be well if those who 
venerate the past, and have some regard for the pic- 
turesque, beautiful, and sublime, would endeavour 
if they have the power, to rescue from destruction, 
though they 'might not restore, to prevent from 
crumbling into the soil on which they rest, these 
ancient ornaments of the Emerald Isle — 

" Before decay's effacing fingers 
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers." 



20 Sketches in Carbery. 


Baltimore, derivation of name, antiquity — Expedition against this 
place in 1537 by Waterford — Charter of incorporation in 1613 
from James I. — Colon>sed by Sir Thomas Crook — Celebrated 
Algerine invasion of Baltimore, 20th June, 1631 — Eeturned two 
M.P.s from A. D. 1613 to 1800, when it was disfranchised — List 
of M.P.s — Lord Baltimore, colonizer of Maryland, derived his 
title from the place — Migration of the O'Driscolls to Spain, the 
original country of their ancestors — Battle of Rath. 

The first place I intend describing is Baltimore, 
anciently called Dunashad (the fortress of the jewels), 
which is a place of great interest, when we take into 
account -its antiquity and former importance. It was 
called Baltimore from the words Baile-an-Ti-Mor, 
which signify in the Irish language " The town of the 
Great House." It was in olden times a celebrated 
sanctuary of the Druids, who carried on their idola- 
trous worship of the pagan god, Baal, in this place. 
Not far from the present village are the remains of 
a Druidical • altar or Cromlech, evidently of great 
antiquity, where the Druids were wont to celebrate 
the mysterious rites of their religion, and often sought 
to propitiate the favour of the bloodthirsty Baal by 
the immolation of victims to this ideal monster. 
A Druidical circle can be also observed in the same 

As far back as the beginning of the 16th century, 
Baltimore was a town of considerable importance, and 
a great resort for fishermen from the coasts of France 
and Spain. In 1537 the merchants of "Waterford fitted 

Sketches in Carhery. 21 

out an armed expedition against this place. Some 
ships, laden with wine from Portugal and consigned to 
Waterford, were driven ashore in a tempest on the 
neighbouring coast. These ships were plundered by 
Fineen O'Driscoll and his sons, who were the chief- 
tains of Baltimore at the time. When intelligence 
of this outrage reached Waterford, great indignation 
prevailed, and the mayor of that city immediately 
sent a force of 300 men under the command of a 
Captain Woodlock to resent the injury. They landed 
in Sherkin, ravaged the island, destroyed the villages 
and a Franciscan friary which had been established 
there, and also besieged a fortress called the Castle 
of Dun along, which they took by storm. They 
burnt all the galleys and pinnaces belonging to 
O'Driscoll, set fire to Baltimore, and attacked the 
ancient Castle of Dunashad, the ruins of which may 
be observed at the present day, commanding a fine 
view of the harbour. 

Smith in his " History of Cork" describes a curious 
incident connected with the attack on this old castle. 
" A William Grant, one of the seamen, was on the 
top of the castle, which, being all on fire under him, 
he stood upon a pinnacle and cried out for assistance. 
One Butler tied a small cord to an arrow, and shot 
it up to Grant, by means of which cord he drew up 
a rope, which he fastened to the pinnacle, and slid 
down safe to his companions, after which the army 
arrived safe in Waterford." 

• Baltimore soon again regained its former pros- 
perity, and the next important news we learn is that 
it received a Charter of Incorporation as a borough 
from James I., March 25th, 1613, the government 
being vested in a sovereign, twelve burgesses, and a 
commonalty and was represented in Parliament by 

22 Sketches in Carbery. 

two members. An English colony had been planted 
here a short time previously by Sir Thomas Crook, 
prior to -which event the town of Baltimore and the 
adjacent country had been a great stronghold of the 
O'Driscolls, who also possessed the islands of Sherkin 
and Cape Clear,- of which latter place they were 
styled kings. The O'Driscolls forfeited all their 
possessions, both on the mainland and in the islands, 
during the insurrection of 1601, when the Spaniards 
landed in Baltimore. The Spaniards surrendered to 
Captain Harvey, who was in command of the English 
forces. Most of the O'Driscolls emigrated to Spain, 
leaving behind them their followers and dependents, 
who gradually became mixed up with the rest of the 

Baltimore was not destined to remain for any 
length of time in a state of repose. Sir "Walter Cop- 
pinger reduced the place to great distress in 1629, 
and took possession of the town and castle ; but the 
greatest calamity which had yet occurred befel this ill- 
fated locality on the 20th June, 1631, when two 
Algerine galleys, manned with pirates, landed in the 
dead of night, plundered the town, massacred the 
greater portion of She inhabitants, and took the re- 
mainder into a captivity almost worse than death. 
Of those captured (200 in number) most were English 
settlers. The Algerines were piloted into Baltimore 
by a man named Hackett, a Dungarvan fisherman, 
who, about two years after this occurrence, was taken 
prisoner, carried to Baltimore, and hung on a high 
cliff, facing the sea, and looking down on tbe very 
channel through which the miscreant had but a short 
time before so treacherously and cruelly conducted 
the galleys of the bloodthirsty and marauding 


Sketches in Carbenj. 23 

The description of this eventful narrative would 
be incomplete without referring to the poem of 
Thomas Davis on the "Sack of Baltimore," which tells 
in more thrilling and graphic accents of the terrible 
descent of these fierce Algerines than could be com- 
passed by the tamer recital of prose : — 

" The summer's sun is falling soft on Carb'ry's hundred isles — 
The summer's sun is gleaming still through Gabriel's rough 

defiles — 
Old Innisherkin's crumbled fane looks like a moulting bird ; 
And in a calm and sleepy swell the ocean tide is heard : 
The hookers lie upon the beach ; the children cease their play ; 
The gossips leave the little inn ; the households kneel to pray : — 
And full of love, and peace, and rest — its daily labour o'er — 
Upon that cosy creek there lay the town of Baltimore," &c. 

"We refer the reader for the remainder to the 
poems of the author. 

Baltimore never recovered from the shock of the 
Algerine invasion — its energies became paralysed, 
its wealth and prosperity vanished, and it gradually 
dwindled down into an insignificant village. It 
however continued to send two members to Parlia- 
ment until the year 1800, when it was disfranchised, 
and the sum of £15,000 a\tfarded by Government to 
Sir John Evans Freke, Bart., by way of compensa- 
tion, for the abolition of its franchise. This final 
blow completely ruined Baltimore, and deprived it 
of all chances of attaining to anything like its former 
position. Anyone visiting the Baltimore of the present 
day, and contrasting its quiet, unpretending, and 
unbusiness-like appearance with what it must have 
been in the 16th century, if we are to believe his- 
torians — viz. a thriving and opulent town, carrying 
on an extensive trade by means of its fisheries with 
the coasts of France and Spain, and the seaports 
along the neighbouring coast — will have his ideas 

24 Sketches in Carbery. 

carried back immediately to those troubled and law- 
less days when bloodshed and strife were almost 
daily occurrences, and when the ancient chieftains 
and the English settlers decided their differences by 
appeals to arms. When he ascends the rocky emi- 
nence within the village, on which stand the ruined 
walls and battlements of the ancient castle of Duna- 
shad, which was the chief stronghold of the O'Dris- 
colls, and looks out upon the picturesque harbour, 
with Sherkin, Cape Clear, and the numerous islands 
fading away in the distance, what a crowd of ideas 
rushes on his memory when he recalls the sanguinary 
scenes of strife and contention which were enacted 
almost beneath his feet. He pictures to himself the 
feelings of dismay and horror that must have filled 
the minds of its inhabitants when the fierce and 
warlike Algerines carried fire and sword into its 
ancient halls, and fancies with what sorrowful and 
heavy hearts the old proprietors and chieftains of 
the soil must have turned their longing eyes to* take 
a last glance at the seats of their ancestors before 
their final departure, in exile, for the coasts of 
Spain. t- 

After the reduction of Dunboy Castle, by Sir 
George Carew, Lord President of Munster, in 1602, 
we find that during his return to Cork, several other 
fortresses of inferior note throughout the country 
were stormed and captured by his victorious army — 
amongst others, that of Clogan, near Baltimore. 
The following particulars regarding its capture are 
recorded in the "Paccita Hibernia," a work written by 
Sir George Carew himself: — "Sir Charles Wilmot 
took Macrocm Castle in September, 1602, and about 
the same time that of Clogan, near Baltimore, was 
summoned by Captain Flower, who had in his posses- 


Sketches in Carbcry. 25 

sion Mac Donough Durrow, brother of the Governor, 
and sent him word he would hang him, if he (the 
Governor) did not surrender immediately, but there 
being in the castle a priest lately come from B.ome, 
whom the Governor would not give up, he suffered 
his brother to be hanged. Nevertheless, having found 
means to procure the priest's escape, he sued for a 
protection four days after, which being granted he 
gave up the castle." 

Before finishing my remarks on Baltimore, I must 
refer to one of the only incidents of any importance 
connected with the modern history of the place — 
viz. the Bath Biots, or, as they are sometimes mag- 
niloquently styled, " The Battle of Bath," which is 
familiar to the memories of many of my readers. 
When the poor laws were first established, about 
thirty years ago, a spirit of great dissatisfaction was 
evinced by the farming and labouring classes of this 
locality, and a determined opposition organized to 
resist the collection of the ra^es. A large force of 
police, under the command of a Mr. Gore Jones, 
stipendiary magistrate, and a Mr. Bichard Brew, 
sub-inspector, was sent to protect the rate collector. 
An attempt was made to distrain a few head of cattle 
from some of the resisting parties near Bath chapel ; 
opposition was offered on the part of the people, a 
collision took place, the police fired, and two men 
were killed and two severely wounded. After this 
unfortunate occurrence, all opposition to the poor 
laws ceased, and the poor rates have ever since been 
collected without any show of resistance. 

Appended is a list of some of the most promi- 
nent M. B.s, who represented Baltimore from the 
seventeenth century to the beginning of the nine- 
teenth ; — 

26 Sketches in Carbery. 

1613. April 20th, Sir Thomas Crook, Bart., Bal- 
timore. Henry Pierce, Esq., Dublin (James I.) 

1661. Richard Townsend, Esq., Castletown- 

1692. Colonel Thomas Beecher, sen., of Sherkey, 
Edward Richardson, gent., Moerestown. 

1703. Pierce Freke, Esq., Eathharry (pre- 
sent Castle Freke). Thomas Beecher, Esq., Sher- 

1713. Hon. Richard Barry. Michael Beecher, 

1721. Sir Percy Freke, Bart., Castle Freke. 
Richard Tonson, Esq., Dunkettle. 

1768. Sir John Freke, Bart. Richard Tonson, 
Esq., Baltimore. 

1778. William Evans, Esq. 

1783. Lord Sudley. Richard Longfield, Esq. 

1797. George Evans, Esq. 

In 1703 Edmund &alway, Esq. forfeited Balti- 
more, which had been for some time previously his 
property, for his adherence to Xing James II. It 
was purchased soon after at the- sale of the confis- 
cated estates (temp. Queen Anne) by Percy Freke, 
Esq., of Rathbarry, ancestor of the present Lord 
Carbery, for £1,809, the title of whose family to the 
peerage dates back to 1815. 

The ancient title of Lord Baltimore, time of Jamesl., 
was conferred on George Calvert, a native of York- 
shire, but of Flemish extraction ; he was Secretary 
of State, but in 1624 was compelled to resign, having 
become a Roman Catholic. His second son, Cecil, 
obtained a grant from Charles I., 1632, of a large 
tract of country in America, known at present as the 
State of Maryland (called after Henrietta Maria, 
Queen of Charles I.). 

Sketches in Carbery. 27 

This state he colonized with a number of respect- 
able families, chiefly from Ireland. The capital of 
the State, Baltimore, at present one of the finest 
cities in the United States (pop. 170,000), was called 
after the place of the same name in Ireland. The 
title, Lord Baltimore, has been extinct for some 

28 Sketches in Carbevy. 


A trip down the Hen river — Scenery along the banks — Relics and 
ruins of the past — Abbey de Sancto Mauro, founded 1172 — Abbey - 
strowry — View of the adjoining country — Imhsbbeg island in the 
river, where Book of Dues was presented to St. Fachtnan, first 
Bishop of Eosscarbery, by the chieftain of Corca Laidbe — Ringa 
Roga island, and castle — Innisherkin (Inis Arcain), its Fran- 
ciscan Abbey (A. D. 1460), subterranean chambers — General des- 
cription of these curiosities of the Pagan age. 

" The summer's sun is falling soft on Carbery's hundred isles." 


If one illustrious bard has immortalized in song 
" The Isles of Greece," " where Phcebus rose and Delos 
sprung ; " another, whose name is also familiar, has 
brought into notice and raised to fame the Hundred 
Isles of Carbery, which, if they fail to outrival the 
Grecian Archipelago, still present points of attrac- 
tion and interest to engage the attention and call 
forth the ability of the poet and artist. The great 
Dean of St. Patrick's, who lived for a year in the 
neighbourhood of Glandore, has left us a Latin poem, 
which he esteemed beyond all his writings, entitled 
" Carberite Eupes," in which he briefly, with much 
graphic force, describes some of the striking features 
of the coast scenery between Baltimore and Glandore, 
so deeply impressed and delighted was he with 
what he saw during his numerous excursions along 
the coast. Certainly when writers and observers, 
whose names are chronicled in history, have selected 
for their themes " The Sack of Baltimore," and the 

Sketches in Carbery. 29 

picturesque, if comparatively barren, rocks of Car- 
bery, it proves beyond a doubt that there is some- 
thing attractive and pleasing, after all, to be 
discovered amongst the western wilds, and that the 
nearest parish to America is worthy of more than a 
passing notice, either in poetry or prose. It is my 
intention to give a detailed account of only the two 
most important islands — viz. Sherkin and Cape Clear, 
referring briefly to the others which are comparatively 
of diminutive size. 

A trip down the river Hen, as it pursues its wind- 
ing and picturesque course from Mount Owen (the 
hill of streams) to the harbour of Baltimore, a dis- 
tance of about fifteen miles, is a most pleasant and 
interesting excursion during the summer months. 
Starting from Skibbereen, we can either steam or 
row, according to our pleasure, or rather as the tide 
suits, to Baltimore and Sherkin, a distance of 
eight or nine miles, and then cut the harbour's 
mouth, and cruise about the group of islands I have 
selected as the subject of the present sketch. 

Let us now, en passant, gaze on either side, and 
examine minutely any relics or ruins of the past, 
which may possess either local interest, or whose 
former history, however microscopic, may have handed 
down some fact worthy of record. Not far from the 
metropolis of West Carbery we pass by the ruins of 
Abbeystrowry Church (the abbey of the stream ). The 
fragmentary remains are by no means imposing ; 
however, the gray crumbling walls, covered with 
moss and lichens, and the overhanging, leafless trees, 
tottering to their fall, proclaim a venerable antiquity. 
Here, during the 12th century, on the site of the 
present ruin, flourished a branch of the celebrated 
Cistercian Abbey, founded at Corrigillihy, in the 


30 Sketches in Cavbenj. 

parish of Myross, A. D. 1172, by Dermot M'Cormac 
McCarthy, who was king of Cork at that period; 
hence the parish derives its name. Smith, in his 
"History of Cork," writing about a hundredy ears ago, 
states that in his time, although even then the traces 
above ground of both Abbeys had disappeared, 
" upon digging beneath the soil, the foundations of 
the Abbey de Sancto Mauro, or the Fonte Yivo, at 
Myross, and also a large cemetery with quantities 
of human bones were discovered." A visit was made 
to Abbeystrowry during the famine years by the 
celebrated John Bright, to which he refers in one 
of his speeches at Dublin, in the year 1866 ; and 
he describes, with emotion, how he stood on that 
ground, where countless numbers lay buried around 
him, the victims of that fearful famine, which swept 
like a desolating hurricane over the country. 

We must leave, however, these melancholy tra- 
ditions of the past behind us, " familiar in our mouths 
as household words," and pursue our voyage onwards, 
noting each matter of interest as we pass along. 
Occasionally we catch a glimpse, at New Court and 
Creagh, of bright patches of green verdure, which 
show a proof of careful cultivation, and rich verdant 
spots, in the hollows of the rocks here and there, 
which contrast favourably with the brown, heathy 
moorland, the dingy-looking bogs, and the unre- 
claimed margins, where furze and rushes, weeds 
and stagnant water assert their unproductive sway. 
It realizes at once, to the inquisitive gaze, the right- 
ful title to the term " Emerald Isle," which Ireland 
claims as specially her own, and also clearly and 
conclusively proves how completely the reclamation 
of the waste land by draining, &c, can metamorphose 
rocks and bogs, and acres, covered with moss and 

Sketches in Carhery. 31 

rushes, and sedgy pools, into smiling pasture and corn 
lands, and countless ridges of luxuriant green crops. 
"We must only hope the exodus from the old country 
■will not deprive us heyond measure of the stalwart 
arms so necessary to turn up the soil and prevent 
the land from degenerating into a -wilderness. 

The view down the river from near Creagh, on 
a fine day, is quite attractive. The lien, winding 
in a serpentine course towards Baltimore harbour, 
shining and sparkling in the sunlight like a silver 
thread, and dotted over with a multitude of rocky 
islets, whose recesses form a safe retreat and favorite 
feeding ground for flocks of sea fowl during the 
winter months. Looking backwards, the country 
presents no very striking features to engage our atten- 
tion. We are chiefly struck by the almost complete 
absence of wood, and the sombre-looking patchwork 
of irregular fields, enclosed by earthen banks, and 
the prominent position wherever we turn of the 
"Carberise Eupes," so much admired by tourists 
and strangers, most probably on account of the 
novelty and_ singularity of the scene. Farther 
inland, the view is intercepted by the dark chains 
of hills, which stretch along in a south-westerly 
direction, from the neighbourhood of Dunman- 
way and Drimoleague towards the bays of Dunmanus 
and Bantry. From one of these hills near Drimo- 
league, where "rain clouds perpetually hover about," 
named Knuck Owen (the hill of streams), three 
rivers derive their source — the Bandon river, the 
Hen, and the Bantry river (the Meallagh). Par 
away, towards the west, we descry the mountains 
culminating to their highest points in Gabriel, the 
Sugar Loaf, and Hungry Hill (2,251 feet high), 
from which latter descends in the winter months a 


32 Sketches in Carbery. 

cataract unsurpassed in height by any in either Great 
Britain or Ireland. 

The first island worthy of notice is Inishbeg ; here 
the river separates into two distinct channels — the 
western one being navigable for vessels about 250 
tons as far as Old Court. One memorable circum- 
stance connected with this little island is the follow- 
ing, mentioned in " The Genealogy of Corca Laidhe." 
At Ard-na-bPartan, in Inisbeg— i. e., Crab Fish 
Hill, on the Little Island, Conall, chieftain of Corca 
Laidhe (the ancient name of Carbery), presented 
the Book of Dues, about the latter end of the 6th 
century, to St. Fachtnan, the first Bishop of Eoss- 
carbery. On each bank of the river is a small 
townland, called in the Ordnance Map Collatrum 
Beg and More : the ancient name is still the 
one used by the peasantry of Carbery. We 
will refer to this subject again, as we proceed 
further. Separated by a narrow channel from Inish- 
beg, and occupying a position between the two river 
channels, is the next island, Einga Eoga or Donegal, 
as it is styled in the charts. The latter name is de- 
rived from the words Dun-na-n Gall, which means the 
castle or stronghold of the foreigners^ The same deri- 
vation applies to the county of Donegal, the ancient 
name of which was Tyrconnell. It was called Donegal 
in more recent times, owing to the erection of a re- 
markable fort by the Danes near the town of Donegal. 

At the north end of Einga Eoga * we observe the 
remains of an ancient castle, erected A.D. 1215, by the 
Barrets of Munster. At the same period were built the 
castles of Dun-na-sead at Baltimore, Glandore Castle, 

* Einga Boja. Point of the Kout (Joyce), most probably owing 
to the rout of some hostile attacking party, who laid siege to the 

SI. etches in Carbtry. 33 

and those of Timoleague and Dundeady. In fact 
the majority of the feudal fortresses, the ruins of 
which to-day are so thickly scattered over the face of 
the country, were constructed in the early portion of 
the 13th century. The disturbed state of society, 
and the perpetual petty warfare and mutually hos- 
tile reprisals which constantly prevailed, required 
that every large dwelling-house should not only 
shelter its inmates from the weather, hut also be 
utilized as a garrison in times of danger. Einga 
Eoga is connected with the mainland, on the eastern 
side, by an excellent causeway, erected by Sir "W. 
Becher. The island is three miles in length, and 
one in breadth, comprising 986 acres. Previous "to 
1847, it contained a population of 786, but now there 
is not a tenth of the number, and this great reduc- 
tion is to be generally observed in most places along 
the coast, owing to the constant drain by emigration. 
"Time and tide wait for no one," and we must 
accordingly hurry on to Sherkin. 

The island of Sherkin forms the western boun- 
dary of Baltimore harbour, protecting it most effec- 
tually, by its interposition, from the fury of the 
south-western gales and the wilJWfraves f the 
Atlantic. It is separated at the north end, by a 
very narrow channel, from the mainland, which, as 
the extreme end of Aghadown parish, projects in the 
form of a promontory (Turk Head) between Balti- 
more on the east side and Roaring "Water (Lou°h 
Trasnagh) on the west. The ccrract name of the 
island is Inis-Arcain — meaning the island of Arcan — 
the name of a person. Smith incorrectly says that 
the proper name was Inis Kieran ; but this could 
I not possibly be the case, as St. Kieran was born 

in C'npe Clear, and had no communication with 



3-i Sketches in Carbery. 

Sherkin ; at least we have no such account given in 
the history of his life. 

Smith, though a clever writer, aud possessed of 
much general information regarding the county 
Cork, was evidently not well acquainted with the 
Irish language. Dr. Joyce, in his instructive work, 
" Irish Names of Places," has thrown a great amount 
of additional light on the topography and antiquities 
of Ireland, as regards the correct derivation of the 
names of the various townlands, &c, which have 
mostly an Irish orthography, and gives us, at once, 
a clear insight into their former history, and identi- 
fies many interesting local circumstances which, 
otherwise, would he buried in oblivion. Sherkin 
extends in length, from north to south, three miles, 
and is ahout a mile wide. Towards the south, the 
land (where it faces the sea) is hold and elevated, 
and terminates in Slea More (great hill) Point — it 
forms the western boundary of the narrow channel — 
the entrance to Baltimore Harbour. 

On the east side of the channel, about a cable's 
length from the shore, is a rock called The Loo, 
which Unexposed at low water, surmounted by a 
buoy. On the 30th April, 1697, an important wreck 
took place here during a heavy gale. A man-of-war, 
H. M. S. " Loo," struck on the rock, and was ship- 
wrecked. No buoy marked the spot at that time, 
and from this occurrence it derives its present name. 
There is a good depth of water in the channel, and 
excellent holding ground for ships near the Abbey 
Strand, in thirty feet of water. In former times, 
near the south end of the island, some valuable slate 
quarries were extensively worked, the slate being of 
a ffood description, and large quantities were ex- 
ported to England. The object of greatest interest 


Sketches in Gurbery. 35 

on the island is the Franciscan Abbey,' which 
flourished here during the 15th century. It was 
built, and at the same time also (A. D. 1460) the 
adjoiuing castle of Dunnalong (the ship castle) by 
Florence O'Driscoll, who, according to the historian 
Ware, was lord of the town of Eoss, of Baltimore, 
and of the island of Sherkin. 

The Abbey is distinctly visible from Baltimore ; 
it is close to the water's edge, near the Abbey Strand. 
The adjoining ground is fertile, and the situation 
selected was both picturesque and convenient. It 
was built after the model of Kilcrea Abbey. The 
ruins (which are well worthy of a visit) consist of 
the nave, choir, tower, and south transept, the 
intervening wall being arcaded in a finished style 
with hewn free-stone, procured from a quarry on the 
island. In addition, we observe remains of the 
cloisters, refectory and dormitories, all in tolerably 
good preservation, but the destroying hand of time 
is slowly but surely crumbling into dust the relics of 
what formerlj^just have been a very graceful and 
ornamental building. When we enter within the 
precincts of the surrounding walls, the traditions of 
the past are immediately recalled; the cloisters and 
dormitories and the choir of the church, which has 
been occupied as a cemetery for the last two centu- 
ries, present a desolate and solemn appearance. On 
either side, in cells hollowed in the walis, are 
heaped up piles of human bones ; and around on 
the floor in every direction are rude slabs and head- 
stones, sad mementoes of a past generation that 
sleeps beneath the ferns, and tangled weeds, and 
long, coarse grass, which spring up in rank' and 
wild luxuriance wherever we turn. A corner-stone 
near the east end of the building commemorates 


36 Sketches tn Carhoy. 

by an. inscription the original date of erection — 

The Abbey Tower is in good preservation, and, 
having entered by a narrow, dark orifice, arched 
over with cut-stone, we can ascend at our leisure the 
spiral staircase which conducts us in safety to the 
summit of the tower or belfry. This staircase is 
what is commonly described as a geometrical one. 
Each step is of free-stone, about two anda-half to three 
feet long, pyramidal in shape, the base or outer end 
of the pyramid being implanted in the surrounding 
wall, and the inner detached and narrow end sup- 
porting the step above, and being supported by the 
one beneath ; and so on to the top. In one or two 
places the steps have been destroyed. There is a 
small loop-hole in the walls, about every twelve 
steps, to admit light. At last we reach the ledge 
which surmounts the entire structure, and carefully 
steal along around the entire circumference, until 
we reach the Wishing Chair, from which airy emi- 
nence we obtain a most charming view. We observe 
the Hen winding picturesquely through the clusters 
of rocky islets which stud its mouth ; the high land 
of Cape, and the broad blue ocean to the south ; the 
romantic harbour of Baltimore, and the rugged sea- 
coast in the background; and, turning our gaze west- 
ward, we espy Eoaring Water Bay (Lough Trasnagh), 
with some of Carbery's Hundred Isles stretched out 
before us as on a map ; and the bleak, bold, and barren 
Mount Gabriel looming out in the distance, clearly 
and well defined. 

Before concluding our notice of Sherkin it may 
be interesting to describe the subterranean caves or 
chambers, which were explored a few years ago. 
Starting from the Abbey and Duuelong Castle, which 

Sketches m Carberi). 3? 

formed the subject of the last sketch, a narrow, rugged 
path leads us through the centre of the island — to 
its wild western shore — where we observe a com- 
pletely land-locked harbour — Kinish or Cooney har- 
bour — which communicates with Roaring Water Bay 
by means of a narrow strait, where there is a good 
depth of water. This little harbour, which has more 
the appearance of a salt-water lake, is shallow 
throughout, with an average depth of about 12 feet ; 
it formerly, owing to its sheltered position, afforded, 
when the fisheries were more flourishing than they 
are now, a safe anchorage to fishing smacks, of which 
as many as thirty at a time often took refuge here 
during the prevalence of bad weather. At present 
a solitary boat or two may be observed reclining 
idly on the beach. It is only to be hoped a revival 
of an important and lucrative branch of industry 
will again enable the fishermen to seek the shelter, 
when the occasion requires it, of this secluded but 
safe retreat from the storms of the Atlantic. 

Standing on a rocky summit near the beach, on 
a fine day in summer, a sea view opens before us of 
rare beauty. The bold bluff headlands of Cape Clear 
are near at hand, and the rushing tide, which sweeps 
so hurriedly through the Grasconane Sound, the whole 
expanse of Roaring Water Bay, and its numerous 
Islands, and in the far distance — the most southerly 
point of Ireland — the Mizen Head is visible, termi- 
nating the long sweep of rocky, mountainous coast 
line, stretching away in the direction of Skull and 

Between Cooney Harbour and the north-western 
shore several underground chambers were acciden- 
tally discovered in the month of October, 1869 
Whilst some labourers were engaged at work, digging 

38 Sketches in Carter;/. 

in the corner of a stubble field, one of the spades sud- 
denly penetrated a hole in the ground, and, the opening 
having been enlarged, it was observed that it com- 
municated with a dark underground cavern, hollowed 
out of the stiff clayey subsoil. Descending, we 
entered a vaulted chamber, shaped like a bee-hive, 
and, having the following dimensions— length, 10 
feet— breadth, 6 feet— height, in centre, about 5 feet. 
The sides and roof were composed of stiff white clay, 
intermixed with gravel. No rubble masonry, stone's, 
or plaster had been used in the construction. The floor 
was also_ gravel and clay. The chamber communi- 
cated with a second of the same dimensions, by 
means of a narrow circular opening about 2\ feet 
high, and 2 feet wide. Having forced our way 
through the aperture . on all fours, in company with 
a lantern, we entered the second chamber, and in 
the same manner four more, making six altogether, 
answering nearly in all particulars to the description 
given above. The last; chamber was more difficult 
of ^trance, the orifice leading into it being very 
narrow; it was also of somewhat smaller dimensions. 
Here, after having crept a distance of sixty feet 
under ground, after the manner of the ancient Trog- 
lodytes, we were brought to a full stop, as at the 
extreme end of the sixth chamber the place was 
blocked up with large, irregular stones. On removing 
one or two of these, a narrow dark chimney or ven- 
tilating shaft was discovered, which, even the most 
experienced sweep would not venture to explore, and 
whose direction and final mode of exit we were 
obliged to remain ignorant of. The entire floor of 
this cell was covered thickly with a layer of dark 
soot, and the surrounding walls were blackened as if 
by smoke. No ancient relics were observed, or Ogham 


Sketches in Carbery. 39 

inscriptions. There was no difficulty in breathing, 
as a current of pure air rushed through the chimney, 
and a candle burned brightly when introduced 
through the aperture. The field in which the under- 
ground chambers were discovered was similar in 
appearance and on a level with the surrounding 
land, and no tumulus or vestiges of a rath could be 
observed in the neighbourh ood . An an eient islan der, 
who was present, stated that they had been opened 
accidentally about twenty years previously, and that 
a human skeleton was found buried near the entrance, 
and that it crumbled into dust when handled, proving 
its antiquity ; he also stated that a narrow stream of 
water, at that time, flowed through the centre of 
each crypt. No tradition exists in the island of 
their having been used at any period by poteen dis- 
tillers, smugglers, or pirates, as receptacles for con- 
traband goods or " mountain dew." 

As we ate discussing now a very interesting subject, 
it may be cot amiss to diverge somewhat from the 
beaten track, and leaving Sherkin to take care of it- 
self, enlarge a little on these curious artificial caverns 
in the soil, which still exist, almost untouched by the 
hand of time, so extensively throughout the south of 
Ireland, and which, if we are to believe some anti- 
quarians, were formerly the abodes of Ireland's 
aborigines, over a thousand years before the Chris- 
tian era. In the neighbourhood of Skibbereen, on 
the lands of Lurriga (ridge or shin), the property of 
M'Carthy Downing, M.P.,in a large field adjoining 
Clover Hill House, an opening was accidentally dis- 
covered in the soil in November. 1869, which, on 
being enlarged, enabled a descend into an 
underground chamber, about four feet beneath the 
surface, of the usual oven or bee-hive shape, and 

40 Slcelchca in Carboy. 

hollowed out of the stiff clay subsoil. Human bones, 
evidently very ancient, were discovered near the 
entrance. The dimensions and appearance were the 
same as those already alluded to on the island of 
Sherkin. Three other chambers, taking a spiral 
direction, were also entered, a narrow circular pas- 
sage leading from one to the other. No. 3 was 
blocked up by large stones, so firmly impacted that 
further progress was completely checked. Over 
head on the surface of the soil was a large horizontal 
fiat stone or lintel, which seemed from its position, 
overlying an opening into one of the caves, to have 
answered the purpose of a rude door. With regard 
to the conformation of the land where these cells 
were explored, it is worthy of remark, that it appeared 
to be artificial — a raised oblong mound, probably 
one of the ancient tooms or tumuli, referred to in 
■works on Archceology, and supposed to have been 
used in pagan times as cemeteries. About a quarter 
of a mile to the east on the same land is a small 
ratli or fort. The site of Lurriga House, which forms 
the extreme western limit of this mound, bears also 
a general resemblance to an ancient rath; although 
no traces of rampart or .fosse remain, the subsoil in 
some places has been tunnelled out; and this confirms 
the belief that such was the case, and it is not unlikely 
that the entire series of cells were closely connected 
toge^ier along the entire length, from one fort to 
the other by a continuous passage, allowing a free 

It is evident that in the country around Skibbereen, 
the raths or lisses or forts, which are more or less 
synonymous terms, and underground caverns, were 
very abundant, as the present names would indicate : 
for instance, Lissard, Lissangle, Lissalohorig, Letter, 

Sketches in Carbery. ^i 

formerly called Letteranlis, &c. The fort at Lake- 
lands appears to have been a very important one, 
and is in perfect preservation ; the concentric high 
earthen ramparts, with the deep intervening fosse, 
(which was capable of being artificially flooded with 
water when danger threatened) are on an extensive 
scale, and a surrounding circle of stunted oak trees 
at present occupies the fo?se, imparting a venerable 
appearance to the entire structure. 

Smith refers to subterranean caverns, which were 
casually discovered in his time, in the vicinity of Ross- 
carbery, and which obtained so much notoriety that he 
has taken the trouble of making some drawings of them 
in his "History of Cork; " he has also alluded to some 
very interesting ones in the parish of Aghabolotme, 
near Macroom. With regard to those near Ross, whicb 
were opened about the year 1760, he states: — "As 
some people were lately digging for clay near the 
Cathedral Church, Rosscarbery, a deep subterraneous 
cavity appeared, which seemed to lead to some caverns 
that were discovered about thirty years before at the 
west end of the town, which were two hundred yards 
from the hole now opened. By descending, several 
oval chambers were discovered, being mostly twelve 
feet long and six bsoad, having long narrow passages 
leading from one to the other. These passages were 
but eighteen inches broad and three feet high, so 
that it was necessary to creep from cell to cell. At 
one end of each chamber stood a broad flag-stone, 
resembling the back-stone of a fire place. The roof 
of each cell consisted of a Gothic arch, formed of a 
stiff clay, from the centre of which to the ground it 
was no more than five feet two inches high. The 
walls were made of stone, smoothly plastered, and 
the whole lined with soot, so that fires had been 


42 Sketches in Carbcry. 

made in them. Tlie common tradition concerning 
them is that they were made by the Danes ; but the 
more intelligent Irish antiquarians say they were 
inhabited by the Firbolges, a people of whom there 
is much mention in their MSS. Homer's description 
of the Cimmerians (Odys Lib. xi.) answers very well 
to the -inhabitants of these gloomy places." The 
foregoing abstract has been given at full length, the 
description answering, in most particulars, to that 
already given of the Sherkin caves, and, besides, it 
goes to prove that the belief as to these extraordinary 
chambers having been places of residence was very 
strong amongst antiquarians even a hundred years 
ago. Extract of a letter from Peake, in the parish 
of Aghahologue, and county of Cork, written by the 
Eeverend Marmaduke Cox, March, 1755 (Smith) — 
"Last Thursday, as some labourers were making a 
ditch, to enclose a potato garden, one of them dropped 
his spade into a deep hole, which obliged him to 
open the earth to get out his spade, where he found 
a passage into fifteen, some say seventeen, very large 
subterraneous ;rooms or caverns, in one of which, by 
estimation, were above five hundred skeletons, all 
entire, and laid at a distance of about a' foot from 
each other. All these bones were so fragile and desti- 
tute of animal matter, from the length of time they 
had been immured, that they crumbled into dust on 
being handled, or even exposed to a current of air. 
'Tis imagined there must be another passage to those 
subterraneous chambers from a Danish fort, about 
one hundred and fifty yards from the present entrance, 
this being very narrow. The rooms are about five 
feet high. There are other chambers that are not 
got into, the entrance being defended by very large 
stones, laid in the doors, which cannot be easily 

Sketches in Carbery. 43 

Removed. "Whether they were habitations of the 
aboriginal Irish or contrived by the Danes the 
curious may judge. There was a beautiful carved 
wood comb and comb-case, but the air mouldered it 
into dust. 'Tis supposed if an entrance can be made 
into these chambers, defended by these stones, that 
some curiosities will be found that will give further 
light into this affair, for one part of these caverns 
was their dwelling, and the other part the repository 
of their dead." 

The preceding account has been given in extenso, 
as it confirms the generally accepted opinion prevail- 
ing now-a-days, that, where these peculiar artificial 
cells existed beneath a mound or tumulus, or under 
the surface of the soil where no traces of a rampart 
and fosse belonging to a lis or rath could be 
detected, they were undoubtedly used in the old 
pagan times, for centuries before the Christian 
era, as repositories or catacombs. It seems that cre- 
mation was also had recourse to, but interment was 
the general custom amongst the Irish, in the days 
of paganism, as the cinerary urns are of more or 
less rare occurrence, discovered sometimes imbedded 
in ^the soil beneath the ancient cromlechs, some of 
them of very choice and finished workmanship. It 
seems strange that a custom peculiar to a pre-Chris- 
tiau era, and even then only partially adopted in 
this country, viz. cremation, should be sought to 
be re-established in a Christian land and a civilized 
age, but such is the fact. " History repeats itself," 
and modern customs are more than closely allied to 
those which prevailed some thousands of years ago. 
Before concluding the present sketch, it may be well 
to give a resume' and some general remarks on the 
ancient forms of habitations, and also a brief account 

4i Sketches- in Cctroei^/}. 

of the peculiar Ogham inscriptions — the Chinese puzzle 
of Irish antiquarians, still as involved in ohscurity 
and mystery for want of a complete key to their solu- 
tion, owing to the rust of ages, as the hieroglyphics 
of Egypt, or the cuneiform inscriptions of Persia and 
Assyria, On referring to the most ancient authori- 
ties, whose works are looked on as authentic, we are 
informed that the earliest habitations used by mankind 
were either subterranean caverns or temporary huts 
of a rude construction, composed of laths or wattles, 
closely interwoven together and plastered over. In 
Ireland, the latter were erected on the circular area, 
enclosed within the concentric ramparts which sur- 
rounded the rath. 

The subterranean chambers, it must be presumed, 
owing to their narrow dimensions, could hardly have 
been used as regular dwelling-places ; it seems more 
probable, weighing carefully the evidence we derive 
from. the most trustworthy sources, that in Ireland, 
which abounds so plentifully in these curious relics 
of a remote age, the tumuli and barrows were 
hollow beneath the surface, with the object of 
using them as sepulchral repositories, as evidenced 
by the frequent discovery of human remains, and of 
Ogham inscriptions recording the burial of some 
illustrious personage. The cavities, immediately con- 
nected with the rath or fort, were intended as places 
of refuge or modes of escape in times of pressing 
danger, or storehouses for the reception of supplies of 
food, to meet the requirements and necessities of the 
inhabitants, when obliged to retreat within the 
friendly protection of their fortress from an external 
invasion. It is quite certain that the raths, familiarly 
called " Danish Forts," were not erected by the ruth- 
less Norsemen to any great extent, as a rule, as they 


Sketches in Curler y. 4-5 

abound mostly in those inland parts of the south of 
Ireland where the Danes never penetrated ; and the 
most reliable Irish historians state that the Danes 
seized upon the original raths, and occupied them, 
as, being of a roving disposition and having a plun- 
dering and destructive tendency, they in rare in- 
stances took the trouble to erect dwellings for 
themselves, except along the sea-shore: — 

Their trade was war, with sword and flame 
They swept the land where'er they came ; 
Nor mercy knew, nor cared for right, 
Their only law, the warrior*s might ; 
No peaceful omen could they bring, 
When waved aloft the raven's* wing. 

•A spread raven was the Danish coat of arms 

46 Sketches in Carbery. 


Sherkin continued — Castle surrendered to Captain HarTey, AD. 1601, 
after battle of Kinsale— The O'Driscolls during the 15th century 
— Full account of the invasion from Waterford — Digression upon 
the ancient Celtic writing known as the Ogham — Cromlechs, their 
history — The various forms of habitation in ancient times — Baths, 
Duns, Cahirs, Crannogues, &c. 

Sherkix Castle was surrendered to Captain Harvey 
on the 23rd February, 1601, by O'Driscoll. The 
latter bad only just defeated the Spaniards, who re- 
fused to restore the castle to him after the battle of 
Kinsale. A commission was granted to Captain 
Harvey by the Lord Deputy Mountjoy for the 
government of Carbery. Smith informs us that the 
barony of Carbery gave title to the family of Vaughan, 
one of whom was made Earl of Carbery by King 
Charles I. The last earl died in 1712 — aged 74. 
The earldom then became extinct, there being no 
male heirs, and his daughter and sole heiress, the 
Lady Anne Vaughan, was married to the Duke of 
Bolton. The first baron holding the present title 
was created Baron of Carbery, May 9th, 1715, on 
the visit of George I. The Algerines, who sacked 
Baltimore on the 20th June, 1631, did not interfere 
with Sherkin or its inhabitants ; most probably they, 
were in too great a hurry to escape with their ill- 
gotten booty. A regular fortification was erected 
on Shorkin, which was garrisoned in Queen Anne's 
time; near it were barracks, nearly all traces of 

Sketches in Car ben/. 47 

which have disappeared, but at low water oue or 
two of the guns which formerly defended the for- 
tress can be observed lying underneath the water 
near the beach. About a hundred years ago, a 
good house existed within the walls of the fort, which 
was occupied by Captain Lionel Becher. 

Innisherkin was destined to undergo, notwith- 
standing its remote position, the terrors of a hostile 
invasion. At various periods during the 15th cen- 
tury, the O'Driscolls, who were of a roving disposi- 
tion, had sailed round to "Waterford, and allied 
themselves with the Powers of that county in attacks 
upon the city with the object of plunder — the fortune 
of war sometimes being favourable, and at other 
times adverse to their cause. " In the year 1450, 
stat. 28, Hen. IV., No. 10, it was enacted, as divers 
of the King's subjects had been slain by Fineen 
O'Hedriescoll, chieftain of the nation, that no person 
of the ports of "Waterford, "Wexford, &c, shall go 
within the country of the said O'Hedriescoll, under 
heavy penalties of forfeiture," &c. Matters readied a 
climax in the year 1537, owing to the following 
occurrence : — 

" Ou the 20th February, 1537, four ships from 
Lisbon, with a cargo of wine on board, consigned to 
the Waterford merchants, were driven by stress of 
weather to Cape Clear, Baltimore, and the Old Head 
of Kinsale. One of the ships, the " Santa Maria De 
Soci," laden with 100 tuns of wine, took refuge in a 
bay near the entrance of Baltimore harbour, was 
boarded by Conoghar O'Driseoll, chieftain of Sherkin, 
and his sons, and piloted safely into Baltimore har- 
bour, the stipulated reward for the pilotage being 
three pipes of wine." Such is the account given and 
recorded by Smith and others, who add that, the 

43 Sketches in Carlcry. 

vintage was so enticing and stimulating in its nature, 
that it led to a flagrant breach of trust on the part 
of the local magnates, for they are said to have 
invited the merchants and officers to an entertain- 
ment in Baltimore Castle, seized on their persons, 
loaded them with manacles, and afterwards attacked 
the ship in their galleys, and took possession of the 
wine, which was freely distributed amongst all their 

It is more than probable that a spirit of reprisal 
upon the citizens of Waterford — with whom it seems 
that a sort of chronic petty warfare had been estab- 
lished — was more influential in leading them into 
such a decided breach of the peace than the actual 
and deliberate desire of plundering a solitary ship ; 
however, that cause may have had its influence too, 
as, during the period we allude to, the rights of 
property, and the legal claims of individuals to the 
fruits of the soil and their industry and enterprise 
were not as jealously guarded by Parliamentary 
statutes as they are at the present day. When news 
arrived in Waterford of the ship's seizure by O'Dris- 
coll, an armed expedition was fitted out, under the 
command of Captain Dobbyn, and reached Baltimore 
on the 5th March. As they boarded the " St. Maria" 
on one side, O'Driscoll's sons and his followers took 
flight, and escaped at the other side. Dobbyn im- 
mediately set the crew at liberty, and weighing 
anchor, proceeded back to Waterford. Of the 100 
tuns of wine, twenty-five only remained unconsumed. 
On the 27th of same month, a more formidable ex- 
pedition of 400 men, thoroughly equipped for action, 
set sail from Waterford in two large vessels, and the 
great galley of the city, under command of Bailiff 
Woodlock and Captains Dobbyn, Wood!ock, Walsh, 

Sketches in Carhcry. 49 

mid Butler. They anchored off Duneloug Castle 
(Sherkin) near the Abbey, and besieged and captured 
the castle, which the} r held for five days. They 
overran the island with fire and sword, destroyed all 
the villages, and almost reduced to ruins the Fran- 
ciscan Abbey, and a large mill which adjoined that 
building. The fortress of Dunelong (the ship's castle), 
which was then a very strong and extensive structure, 
and surrounded by high imposing walls and barbi- 
cans enclosing a goodly bawn, the enclosure where 
the outer buildings were usually erected, was nearly 
levelled to the ground. Large stores of malt, barlev, 
and salt were taken possession of, and Fineen's chief 
galley of thirty oars, with about eighty pinnaces. 
Forty of the latter were burnt, and the remainder, 
with the great galley, were taken back to Waterford 
as trophies of war. The invading troops from "Water- 
ford were not satisfied, however, with the destruction 
of property in Sherkin. They also landed on some 
of the neighbouring islands, which they treated in a 
similar manner, and to wind up the entire programme, 
they burnt and destroyed the town of Baltimore, 
establishing the precedent for the Algerine, and 
broke down Teigh O'Driscoll's goodly castle and 
baun (probably Dunashad). 

Within the antriles or crypts of the ancient raths, 
in the subterranean chambers of the barrows or arti- 
ficial tumuli, and inscribed on the edges of those 
peculiar pillar stones (gallauns) and cromlechs 
(ancient tombs), antiquarians have discovered occa- 
sionally traces of the Ogham ("oum") characters, 
supposed to have been the occult mode of writing 
known to the Druids, and the knowledge of which 
mysterious possession was carefully concealed from 
the mass of the people. It is believed that the art 



Sketches 'in Carbcri)-. 

of writing in the Ogham language was originally, in 
all probability, introduced by the Milesians or Scotic 
colonies, who reached Ireland from Gallicia, in the 
north of Spain (about 1308, A. C. — according to Cor- 
rnac MacCuillenan, " The Book of Conquests," and 
"The Polychronicon"), after migrating to the latter 
place from Asia Minor. 

Many suppose that it originated with the Tuatha 
de Danaans, who colonized Ireland some centuries 
before tlie Milesians. The fact of their Oriental 
origin, and the close affinity prevailing between the 
relics of the Ogham and the ancient inscriptions of 
•Phoenicia and Persia, would strengthen our belief 
that the Druids accprired their knowledge of writing 
in secret characters from the East, the cradle of the 
arts and sciences, and the main source from which 
the stream of early colonization flowed towards the 
shores of Ireland.- The date of its first adoption 
must have been extremely remote, and goes far to 
justify the assertions of many learned philologists 
that the use of symbolic letters was known to the 
Druids in Ireland for a considerable time before they 
were introduced into the other countries of Western 
Europe. It is well-known that the Phoenicians 
carried on an extensive trade, and had frequent 
intercourse with the southern and south-western 
coasts of Ireland, and it is significant that the 
relics of the Ogham inscriptions should be almost 
exclusively confined to that section of Ireland. We 
know that Cadmus, king of Phoenicia, 1490 years 
before the Christian Era, was the first to intro- 
duce the art of letters into Greece, and the same 
number, viz., 16 letters, the original Cadmeian 
jvmber, was subsequently adopted in the Irish 
■• lphabet. 

Sketches m Carle?}}. 51 

The Ogham* writing is classed under the head of 
cryptographic or stenographic, and, as far as the in- 
scriptions can be deciphered at the j^resent, it appears 
they were chiefly used to commemorate the burials 
of illustrious persons, and chronicle their feats of 
war, or their deeds of goodness, as well as the peculiar 
circumstances of their death. The very sites on 
which they are discovered corroborate this opinion, 
as beneath the barrows, pillar-stones, and cromlechs, 
we frequently discover the cinerary urns and mortal 
remains of those who lived in the remote pre-Christian 
times. Wright says " That it is, indeed, most probable 
that all the Druidical monuments, circles, cromlechs, 
&c, whatever other uses they may have served, such, 
I dare say, as important boundaries or places of 
solemn assembly, were originally connected with 

Moore, in his "History of Ireland," introduces the 
following interesting passage, which enlightens us 
on the subject of the Ogham. Quoting from the 
tale of the children of Usneach, " One of the Three 
Tragic Stories of Erin," in which the interment of 
the young lovers is thus pathetically represented: 
"After this song Deirdie flung herself upon Naisi, 
in the grave, and died forthwith, and stones were 
laid over their monumental heap; their Ogham name 
was inscribed, and their dirge of lamentation was 
sung." The same celebrated writer, of whom we 
might well say, " Nil tetigit quod nan omavit," in 
his beautifully classic and poetic style, introduces the 
following eloquent passage, when describing the an- 
tiquity of the Irish language ("History of Ireland):" 
" Abundant and various as are the monuments to 

* Ogham (Collins). " 0" offspring of, and " cuaim" wisdom. 



Sketches in Carberj/. 

which Ireland can point as mule evidences of her 
antiquity, she hoasts a yet more striking proof in 
the living language of her people, in that most 
genuine, if not only, existing dialect of the oldest of 
all European, tongues — the tongue which, whatever 
name it may he called by, according to the various 
and vague theories respecting it— whether Japethan, 
Cimmerian, Pelasgic, or Celtic, is accounted most 
generally to have been the earliest brought from the 
East by the Noachidae, and, accordingly, to have 
been the vehicle of the first knowledge that dawned 
upon Europe. In the still written and spoken dialect 
of this primaeval language, we possess a monument 
of the highest antiquity of the people to whom it 
belongs, which no cavil can reach nor any doubts 

Every day the accumulating knowledge of ancient 
history as regards Ireland, is adding additional 
proofs that a comparatively high state of civilization 
prevailed in remote times. Ptolemy, the celebrated 
geographer, who flourished in the 3rd century, was 
familiar, by repute, with the coast of Ireland, and 
even mapped out the most remarkable promontories 
and estuaries ; as, for instance, the Mizen Head, 
which he called {Notium Promontorium), and the 
Kenmare Piver, &c. He also enumerated a number 
of Irish cities, to which he gives the title of illustrious 
or distinguished, whilst in Germany, about the same 
period, as we learn from Tacitus, no other habitations 
were known than detached huts and caves. We can, 
accordingly, realize the truth of the titles— Ogygia 
(the Ancient Isle), Ierne (the Sacred Isle), and in the 
early period of the Christian era, the name of Insula 
Sanctorum ct Doctorum applied by various authors, 
to the Emerald Isle. The correct reading of the 

Sketches in Curler ij. 53 

Ogham inscriptions would certainly add much, to 
our information regarding pagan times, but so con- 
flicting have been occasionally the different versions 
by acknowledged authorities, that we feel inclined 
to hesitate before we accede our credence to all the 
theories enunciated, which remind us forcibly at 
times of Professors Huxley and Tyndall in then- 
erratic evolutions, and their fanciful flights to the 
philosophic regions of Laputa after primordial orga- 
nisms, microscopic dust, and the ultimate atoms of 
molecular matter. 

The popular idea among the peasantry regarding 
the pillar-stones and cromlechs, althoxigh of a 
ludicrous character, still shows respect for their anti- 
quity — fully believing that they were finger-stones 
nsed by Finn MacCumhaill, and the other giants of 
the past,, when they wanted to amuse their leisure 

I have already referred to the quaint and humorous 
ideas entertained at one time by the peasantry re- 
garding the origin of the Druidical antiquities — the 
belief that prevails as to the gallauns or pillar-stones 
having been used as finger-stones by the giants of 
old. Near the banks of the river lien, on the lands 
of Lissangle, is a remarkable pillar-stone, and an ad- 
joining cromlech (tomb), the upper stone of which 
is of a globular form ; and the current belief in the 
neighbourhood is that the upright pillar-stone was 
Finn MacCumhaill's hurly, and the round reclining 
one the ball with which he used to play the national 
game (hurly), which promises' soon to become as 
fully a traditionary relic of the past as the adven- 
tures and exploits of Finn MacCumhaill or Labraid 
Linseach Great giants and men of here llean 
strength they must have been in those remote ages. 


54 Sketches in Carle///. 

How far surpassing their diminutive descendants of 
the present day, "who do not even equal in height 
the venerable pillar-stones which the giants could 
not only carry in their hands, hut even wield between 
their fingers ! 

For full information regarding the Ogham inscrip- 
tions, we must refer our readers to the writings of 
Samuel Ferguson, and Dr. Graves, Bishop of Lime- 
rick ; and also of Messrs. Abell, Windele, Brash, and 
Rev. M. Horgan, all of the county Cork, who have by 
their laborious and learned researches developed the 
subject fully, and given a valuable amount of infor- 
mation regarding the construction and proper reading 
of those strange hierograms, which reveal in some 
degree the hidden sources of the history of former 
times. According to Windele, there exist but seven- 
teen cromlechs in the county of Cork as yet dis- 
covered ; this being so, West Carbery can make a 
strong presentment in priority claims, as within that 
barony the following can be named, which amount 
to nearly half the entire number, viz. : — Altoir, near 
Tourmore ; another on the road to Four-Mile- Water, 
Castlehaven ; one near Bosscarbery, Coomattollin, in 
parish of Drinagh; Kilnegross (near Clonakilty), and 
Baltimore, though the last, the most important. We 
might also add the cromlech at Lisangle. 

The word " cromlech," when translated, means the 
sloping stone, or stone of Crom, wl>o was the chief 
divinity of Pagan times; and on this stone, which 
formed the Druidical altar, the religious rites of the 
Pagans were celebrated, and the accompanying sacri- 
fices were offered, either of human victims, or of sheep 
and cattle ; the latter custom was peculiar to the 
Irish Druids, who, it seems, from all accounts, were 
averse to huruan sacrifices. They -were also used as 



Sketches in Carbery. 55 

pla33S "of interment. Frequently, whilst digging 
beneath the enclosed area, cinerary urns and human 
bones belonging to a distant age have been discovered 
by the explorers. The ancient habitations and for- 
tresses were known under various names besides the 
rath or lis, already described, and within whose 
circular ramparts wooden houses used to be erected, 
where the inhabitants resided, and which, being of 
a frail nature, could not last for any time ; accord- 
ingly we find no traces of them at the present day. 
The other forms of habitations and fortresses were 
known as duns, cahirs, caseals, aileachs, cran- 
nogues, &c, and were all circular in shape, and con- 
tinued to be raised, and occupied as dwellings and 
fortresses as late as the end of the l'Jth century, 
when they were finally abandoned and superseded 
by the massive quadrangular caisleans or castles, 
with their frowning parapets nnd rough ponderous- 
looking side walls, which still outlive the storm, 
though fast tottering to decay. It is conjectured 
that the Firbolgs, the aboriginal race, who are said 
to have come originally from Belgium, and were so 
called from the bolag or leathern bag they were 
accustomed to carry over their shoulders, like a 
modern pedlar, were the constructors of the subter- 
ranean caverns, to which allusion has been already 
made If they really occupied the caverns as dwel- 
ling places, they must have been men of very small 
stature. Relics of stone implements and weapons, 
and layers of soot have been frequently discovered 
within these gloomy, uncomfortable abodes; and 
ancient historical records inform us that the primi- 
tive habitations of mankind consisted of rude, under- 
ground chambers— Homer and Virgil, amongst other 
writers, mention this fact. 

56 Sketches in Carbery. 

The date of their occupation must have been so 
■very remote, that our imperfect knowledge on this 
subject is not to be wondered at. The Dun, which 
means a stronghold or citadel, was occupied by the 
kings and chieftains, and was of grander and more 
imposing appearance than the Rath or Lis, which 
was inhabited by the population at large. The Dun 
had a prominent mound in the centre, and was sur- 
rounded by three earthen ramparts. The Eath 
had usually only two ramparts, while the tumulus 
had but one. Upon the site of these ancient Duns, 
many castles were subsequently erected, the former 
name being in part retained, and the locality deriving 
its name from this circumstance, as, for instance, 
Dunmore, Dundeide, Dooneen, Dunelong (ship 
i;astle). Dun-a-sead (castle of the jewels), now Balti- 
more, &c. 

The circular stone fortresses were named cahirs 
and caiseals. They were constructed principally in 
places where large boulders of stone projected through 
the soil, so as to form rocky eminences, the masonry was 
styled Cyclopean, and they were surrounded by a cir- 
cular enclosure of large rugged unhewn stones, the 
temporary buildings being raised in the enclosed area. 
The parish of Cahara derives its name from having 
abounded formerly in these cahirs or stone forts, 
and the Rock of Cashel from having been the site of 
a eaiseal in the olden times. Dr. Joyce, in his in- 
teresting and original work, alludes to the strong 
objections which has always prevailed among the 
peasantry, against the tilling or occupying of those 
ancient places, no matter whether the remains of 
former human abodes, or the monumental mounds of 
a bye-gone age. He says — " Long after the lisses 
and raths had been abandoned as dwellings, many 

Sketches in Carbenj. 57 

of them were turned to different uses, and we see 
some of the high duns and mounds crowned with 
modern buildings, such as Drogheda, Naas, and 
Castletown, near Dundalk. The peasantry have 
always felt the greatest reluctance to putting them 
under tillage, and in every part of Ireland you will 
hear stories of the calamities that befell the families 
of the foolhardy farmers who outraged the fairies' 
dwellings by removing the earth or tilling the en- 

This reluctance had its origin, not alone from the 
belief that the precincts were haunted by the pookas, 
leprecauns, and sheevras, who might resent, in a mys- 
terious manner, any rude intrusion on their venerable 
domains, but also from the fact of their having been, 
according to tradition, used as cemeteries in a distant 
age, and the natural disinclination and instinctive 
dislike to disturb the remains of the departed through 
worldly motives. Amongst the many writers of the 
present century who have contributed most to the 
knowledge of Irish archaeology, language, and 
general history, the names of Petrie, O'Curry, and 
O'Donovan are most prominent. Their labours have 
been supplemented by a host of other writers, and 
by their united efforts, deep research, and untirino- 
energy in the field of literature, many important 
facts have been brought to light, which were previously 
buried in darkness and oblivion, and an interest 
created amongst the general public regarding the 
remarkable antiquities and valuable records of Ire- 
land's early history and ancient fame. 

A complete and wonderful change has been effected 
during the last half-century ia all the social habits 
and customs of the people. The duellings, fox- 
huntings, and cock-fightings of the good old times, 

58 Sketches in Curler y. 

the patterns and hurlings, the rollicking fun and 
humour, the merry-makings at May, the Christmas 
and Easter games and festivities, the fairy legends, 
the stories of the Seanachies, and the lilts of the 
pipers, have passed off the scene with the last gene- 
ration, and will, prohahly, only exist in the remem- 
brance of the nest. Many of them, even now, merely 
flit across our thoughts, and haunt our memories 
like shadows of the past. Trie present go-ahead, 
mechanical, and money-making age cannot afford, 
or is disinclined, to waste much time on sentiment, 
romance, or sportive pastimes; hut "such is life," as 
Mr. Billings sagely remarks. 

Sir "William Wilde, in his charming little work 
on "Irish Popular Superstitions," written in 1849, 
remarks : — " The wild strain of aerial music which 
floated round the ancient raths, and sung the matin 
and vespers of the shepherd hoy are heard no more, and 
the romance of elfin life is no longer recited to amuse 
or warn the rising peasant generation. To the log- 
house, hy the broad waters of the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi ; to the wild mountain, Australian prairie, or 
even to the goldeu soil of California, the emigrant 
has carried the fairy lore of the mother country ; so 
that to the charming descriptions of our country- 
woman, Mrs. Hall — to the traits and stories of Wil- 
liam Carleton, the happy illustration of Irish manners 
hy Banim and Gerald Griffin, the pencillings of 
Lady Chatterton, or the graphic sketches of Caesar 
Otway and v Samuel Lover, hut, above all, to the 
Munster legends embalmed by Croiton Croker— must 
the inquirer after fairy lore refer, who would seek 
for information on subjects in Ireland twenty years 
to come." 

And now, having wandered so far from Carbery's 


Sketches in Carbery. 59 

Hundred Isles, exploring the underground dwellings 
of the Firbolgs, the raths and duns of the ancient 
chieftains, and examining into their history in a 
very superficial manner ; it is time* at length to re- 
turn to the subject of our discourse, and carry out 
the original programme. It is necessary, in order 
to elucidate the various topics of interest which may 
start up as we travel along, to branch off at times, 
and dilate somewhat on collateral matters, which 
pertain more or less to the "sketches," and which 
latter, as the name denotes, are necessarily of a 
rambling and unrestricted character. So now we 
will bid a last adieu to Sherkin, and crossing the 
stormy waters of the Gascon ane Sound, land on Cape 
Clear, and study some of the interesting features, 
historic and otherwise, connected with that island. 
Cape Clear, the Insula Sancta Clarae of a former 
period, is the most remarkable island on the whole 
Irish coast, and the most prominent landmark of 
"Western Europe for the mariner, as he steers his 
course to and fro across the wide expanse of that 
ocean which rolls in mighty and majestic waves be- 
tween the two hemispheres, and which is familiarly 
known, in the peculiar parlance of Brother Jonathan 
at the present time, as "The Great American Ferry." 


GO Sketches in Ccirbery, 


Cape Clear (Insula Sanctae Clarae)— The Gasconane Sound — Captain 
Boston's daring swim through the Gasconane (1875) from the 
American packet — Lands at Trafraska Bay, near Baltimore — 
General view of the island, size, population, scenery — Carbery's 
Hundred Isles surround us — Curious separation of Inisfadda 
(Long Island near Skull) into three distinct portions by a thunder- 
storm in the 9th century— Sherkin and Cape Clear most probably 
united to the mainland as a promontory in remote ages — The 
Fisheries of Cape, climate, longevity, great physical strength and 
egdurance of the inhabitants — Smith and Lewis's favourable opinion 
of them— Distress in Cape during 1862 — Father Leader's noble 
exertions on behalf of the poor people — Eeview of Father 
O'Eourke's work on the Irish Famine of 1847 — Benevolence of 
Baroness Burdett Coutts towards the islanders. 

Sherkin and Cape Clear are divided by a strait 
about two miles wide. A short distance from the 
southern extremity of Sherkin a rocky islet projects 
above the water, styled Carrigmore ; between both 
is the Eastern Sound, in which there are eighteen 
fathoms of water. Ships seldom venture to steer 
through the channel owing to the difficulty, especially 
with a south-east wind, of weathering in safety Slea- 
more Point; however during the terrible gale, amount- 
ing almost to a hurricane, which occurred on the 11th 
Eebruary, 1874, a Greek -barque, driven near the 
shore by stress of weather, dashed at headlong speed 
through this narrow and dangerous passage, and, ■ 
after a hair-breadth escape from total destruction, 
reached the friendly anchorage of Whitehall Sound 
in safety. 

Sketches in Carboy. 61 

About two-thirds across the strait is the well- 
known Graseonane Rock, between which and Carrig- 
more is the Middle Sound, and between the Graseonane 
and Cape Clear is the Graseonane Sound, through 
which coasting vessels are sometimes piloted, though 
as a rule they avoid this dangerous place, and keep 
well to the south of the Fastnett. In both channels 
there are twenty fathoms of water. The name of 
the Graseonane is familiar to us with stormy weather 
and agitated waves; the very translation of the name 
clearly indicates this fact, as it means petulant or 
saucy. In the neighbourhood of the rock, which is 
nearly covered at all times by water, the counter 
currents, and the rapid sweeping tide rushing fiercely 
through a narrow channel, and the strong gales, 
which blow often in opposition to the direction of 
the tidal waters, combine to stir up an angry sea 
with crested billows and heavy swells, where few 
boats or hookers could row or sail with any safety. 

A short time ago the celebrated Captain Paul Boy ton, 
the American,whose daring feats with the life apparatus 
have been chronicled in all the daily papers, equipped 
in his extraordinary costume, dufing a stormy night, 
swam ashore from one of the American mail packets, 
close to the Gasconane, a distance of about twenty 
miles, and landed safely at Trafraska bay, in the 
neighbourhood of Baltimore. This is one of the 
most remarkable feats of personal daring achieved 
during the present century ; the sea running moun- 
tains high at the time, and so rough that no boat 
could possibly escape being swamped; however the 
gallant captain, with "his boat upon his back, and 
paddling his own canoe," as he quaintly and forcibly 
described his own position, when about six miles off 
the Fastnett, launched himself into the treacherous 


62 ohe/r},c$ In Carberi/i 

deep, and, after seven hours' most adventurous and 
sensational paddling, not only reached terra-firma r 
hut lived to have his name recorded amongst the 
wonderful men of the age. 

Having crossed the Gxasconane, we can land at 
Cape Clear, either at the east end, which is most 
convenient in fine weather, or at the north or south 
harbour, according to the state of the wind. Many 
points of interest immediately engage our attention. 
The scenery of the island, the beautiful sea views, 
the physique, customs, and manners of the natives, 
and their former history, the account of the celebrated 
St. Kieran, and the ancient relics which still present 
themselves so prominently before us, all these, col- 
lectively and individually, are worthy of record and 
entitled to a place in our narrative. 

Cape Clear, the Iiisu 'la So net a Clara of Ecclesiastical 
Records, and also styled by Keating, and in old Irish 
MSS., Inis Damhhj, has always been regarded, as its 
name would denote, one of the most remarkable 
islands upon the whole Irish coast. Its importance, in 
a geographical point of view, is evident from the fact 
that in all the large maps of the world, where Ireland 
appears as a comparatively small spot, the three 
prominent points of the island named are Dublin, 
the Shannon, and Cape Clear. It runs in a direction 
nearly east and west about three miles, and is a mile 
and a half in breadth at the widest part. Between 
the north and soutli harbours, however, a very narrow 
neck of land intervenes, and, at a distance, it would 
almost seem as if there were two distinct islands 
separated by a narrow strait. There are 17 town- 
lands and 1400 acres, of which from two to three 
hundred are arable, the remainder being devoted to 
pasture. The soil is shallow, and on the south side 

Sketches in Carucry. 63 

of the island, -which is exposed to the Atlantic gales, 
the cliffs attain their highest altitude, and the surface 
here is rocky and unproductive. Previous to the 
year 1848 the island was divided into 137 small 
farms of five acres each. The population was formerly 
large, but has sensibly decreased, as is evident from 
the fact, that a century ago, according to Smith, 
there were up to 2,000 inhabitants. The census of 
1831, according to Lewis, showed about the same 
number. Living exclusively to themselves, and 
having little intercourse with the mainland, it seems 
strange, however, that the population should not 
have increased to such an extent as to necessitate 
emigration from the island, especially the climate 
being so healthy. We must leave the explanation 
of this fact to ethnologists and political economists. 

Since the famine years a marked decrease in the 
population has occurred. The north side of the 
island, which looks inland, slopes somewhat gradually 
towards the sea. As we ramble along, observing the 
various points of interest, we obtain some fine views 
of the adjoining coast. The hundred isles of Carbery 
are seen, the entire cluster dotting the surface of 
Koaring Water Bay (Lough Trasnagh), a very tur- 
bulent expanse of water, too, during the prevalence 
of a south-east or southerly gale. The names of the 
islands are familiar to our readers, such as the 
Skeames, (St. Keani's), Hare Island, (Inish O'Dris- 
coll), the Three Calves, so called on the lucus a non- 
lueendo principle, because they raise no cattle there, 
whilst there are no hares on Hare Island. M'Carthy 's 
Island, in the distance, celebrated for a peculiar growth 
of grass, which, owing to some special virtue in the 
soil, and the enriching powers of the salt water sprav, 
is said to be almost capable of curing and fattening 

§4 Sketches in C<trLcr\j. 

a broken winded coach-horse. Adjoining the coast 
in the neighbourhood of Skull, we observe Horse 
Island, Castle Island, and Long Island, in the same 
line and separated from each other bj a narrow 

Smith, in his " History of Cork," when describing 
the remarkable events which have occurred from time 
to time, gives us the following strange account con- 
nected with these three islands : — " In the latter end of 
March, A. D. 830, Hugh Domdighe, being monarch 
of Ireland, there happened such terrible shocks of 
thunder and lightning, that above 1,000 persons 
were destroyed by it between Corca Bascoine (a part 
of this country then so called) and the sea-side. At 
the same time the sea broke through the bank? in a 
most violent manner, and overflowed a considerable 
tract of land. The island, then called Innisfadda 
(Long Island), on the west coast of this county 
(Keating p. 52, also an old Irish MS.), was forced 
asunder, and divided into three parts. This island 
lies contiguous to two others — namely, Horse Island 
and Castle Island, which, lying in a range and being 
low ground, might have been very probably then" 
rent by the ocean." 

Suchjstrange natural phenomena, as the separation 
of portions of the mainland, which then become 
islands, by the action of the waves, and the gradual 
or sudden elevation and depression of the bed of the 
sea, by the agency of subterranean causes, are re- 
corded in most works on physical geography. Ac- 
cording to tradition, the present channel between 
the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, where line of 
battle ships can at present pass in safety, was in re- 
mote times so shallow as to allow of being safely 
forded at low tide. The Scilly islands, off Cornwall, 

Sketches in Garbery. 65 

when known to the Phoenicians under the name of 
the Cassiterides (tin islands), were almost entirely 
united. In the Welsh Triads an account is given 
of the separation of Anglesea from the mainland by 
natural causes. It is not improbable, reasoning from 
analogy, and taking into account the peculiar con- 
formation of Sherkin and Cape Clear, the great ele- 
vation of the land, the similar direction of the coast 
line, and the very narrow intervals which separate 
them. from, each other, and the mainland, that they 
may have originally projected into the sea as an un- 
broken promontory, in the same manner as the Mizen" 
Head, and been gradually converted into islands 
by .the constant action of the waves, or some; 
violent convulsion of nature.* In ancient manu- 
scripts it is a noteworthy fact that Cape Clear is 
always referred to as a promontory of Corca 

The ele/ated portions of Cape Clear are of the 
schistose or slate formation (Cambrian system). In 
fact throughout the entire of Carbery such is the 
character of the geological strata. On the lower 
ground, near the sea-shore, good freestone abounds, 
which was much used at one time in ornamental 
building. . Between south harbour and the western 
extremity of the island the scenery is very wild and 
romantic, and the cliffs steep and inaccessible, pre- 
senting a bold front to the furies of the wild Atlantic, 
which, in the winter months, is often lashed into 
mountain waves by the violent storms, which are 
prevalent at such periods on the exposed part of the 

*The theory brought forward heve has been dwelt uron, and 
argued as a very probable occurrence, in the article on Geology by 
Mr. Close, M. B. I. A., in Miss Cusack's recent work, "History of 
the County of Cork." 


66 Sketches in Carhery. 

coast. And in this we observe one of those wonder- 
ful and beautiful provisions of nature : for here, 
where the waves roll in from the ocean in such, 
colossal proportions, and beat with redoubled force 
and fiercest energy against the shore, the rugged 
cliffs tower high aloft, and prove an effectual barrier 
against the encroachment of the sea, which would 
otherwise sweep unrestrained over the island, and 
destroy nearly all traces of animal and vegetable 

North Harbour or Tra-Kieran, its more ancient 
name, will first engage our attention. It faces 
Roaring Water Bay, and is a small open space of 
water, sheltered well on the land side from the 
east by high cliffs, which protect it effectually from 
the S. E. wind. Here upon the beach we observe 
the boats and hookers of the islanders hauled up 
beyond the reach of the tide. There is an inner 
basin, which has been enclosed by a pier, but as the 
water is very shoal in this little basin, only three or 
four feet at low tide, the hookers and pilot boats 
cannot be moored there with any safety. Accord- 
ingly the fishermen are compelled during the winter 
rfbnths, whilst the fishing operations are suspended, 
either to sink their craft, or haul them high up on 
the beach. This is a work of great labour, and one 
also attended with much inconvenience, difficulty, 
and loss of time, requiring the work of many hands 
for its accomplishment. 

Within the last year, Mr. Blake, Commissioner 
of Fisheries, visited Cape Clear to investigate the 
state of the fisheries, and to determine the necessity 
of deepening the inner basin ; and it is very probable 
that in a short time the necessary steps will be taken 
to increase the depth of water, so as to allow of small 

Sketches in Garhery. 67 

Vessels Healing there in safety. How great a boon 
this would prove to the islanders can he well imagined ; 
For when returning from their fishing expeditions, 
instead of being compelled to seek the shelter during 
stormy weather of the neighbouring harbours along 
the main shore, a proceeding attended with consider- 
able loss of time and money, they would be in future 
able to steer at once towards the island, and anchor 
with safety in the immediate vicinity of their own 
homes. It is needless to dwell, therefore, on the 
wonderfully good effects which would result ; and who 
is there that does not sympathise with, and take an 
interest in the welfare of these industrious and brave 
hardy " toilers of the deep," who, tossed about in all 
weathers upon the wild waters far out to sea, exposed 
to cold and hardship, and often even to great danger 
of death, struggle manfully against all odds to sup- 
port themselves, and their numerous families, depen- 
dent on them for their very existence. 

The cause of the islanders has been ably advocated 
by the BefT D. M'Cartie, C. C, and J. O'Leary, C. C, 
and it is chiefly owing to their philanthropic and praise- 
worthy exertions that the present movement has been 
originated, one which, if successful, as it promises to 
be, will confer incalculable advantages on the inhabi- 
tants of Cape Clear. "We have been informed, on 
good authority, that the landlord, Sir Henry W. 
Becher, has kindly volunteered to pay the local con- 
tribution himself which is required to supplement 
the Government allowance from the Board of Works 
in order to complete this most useful project, so that 
the people of Cape will not be obliged to defray any 
of the expenses. As the prosperity and comfort of 
the islanders depend almost entirely on the success 
of the fisheries, from which they derive their chief 


£)8 Sketches in Oarberj/. 

support, it is to be hoped that this indispensable 
measure, the deepening of the inner basin in North 
Harbour, will be soon accomplished ; by such means 
this important branch of industry would revive 
again, and emerge rapidly from its present stagnant 
condition. We can well imagine its depressed state 
and decadence at Cape (the same remark applies, in 
a great measure, to all the coast fisheries), when we 
consider that, in former years, about a quarter of a 
century ago, eighteen island hookers were daily 
employed at fishing, the number is now reduced to 
five or six. 

In ancient times, when Spain was more flourish- 
ing than she is at present, the Spanish fishermen 
frequented the vicinity of Cape and Baltimore in 
great numbers, and used to reside upon the island 
occasionally. A neighbouring portion of the main- 
land, near Baltimore, owing to this circumstance, 
still retains the name of Spain, During the last 
century the I^psale fishermen also were in the habit 
of building huts in Cape, during the fishing season, 
where they cured the fish. During the summer 
months the native fishermen man their hookers and 
boats, and -nearly all the adult population weigh 
anchor every Monday or Tuesday morning, and 
proceed far out to sea— the hookers steering for the 
Durseys, and the open boats for the neighbourhood 
of the Fastnett. Sometimes, in pursuit of their 
calling, they go thirty leagues off the land; they 
remain out during the week, and return on Friday 
or Saturday with their cargoes of hake, ling, cod- 
fish, congers, and other deep sea-fish on board, then 
they anchor near St. Kieran's strand, and soon the 
beach is covered with the captured spoil of the finny 

Sketches in Carbery. 69 

The scene which ensues is most interesting and 
exciting ; all the female population rush to the beach, 
attended by the " gorsoons," and soon the fish are 
packed in baskets, which they swing upon their 
shoulders with the greatest ease, and carry away up 
the steep and slippery pathways of the island. The 
women are engaged then in curing the fish, a process 
which is accomplished with great skill ; and the men 
rest for a couple of days to recruit themselves for 
further expeditions out to sea. As the agricultural 
produce of the island is comparatively small, chiefly 
oats and potatoes, and as all fuel must be brought 
from the mainland, there being no trees or turf on 
the soil, it is evident that not alone their welfare 
but also their principal means of procuring a liveli- 
hood depend on the success of the fisheries. The 
chief time of the year for disposing of the cured fish 
is at Christmas, when very large quantities- are sold, 
especially in the town o£ Skibbereen. 

Owing to the active and industrious life which the 
Capers lead, their steady and temperate habits, 
the sanitary influence of a mild and wholesome 
climate, and an almost constant residence on the 
ocean wave, they are exceptionally free from disease, 
and seldom die except from the effects of old age. In 
the summer months the air is balmy and refreshing, 
largely impregnated with the ozone, which has such 
a purifying influence on the atmosphere. We may 
therefore consider Cape at this season as a regular 
sanatorium. We may safely say that it should be 
therefore rightly outside the pale of the Sanitary 
Act. Some of the inhabitants attain to a very old 
age ; they are generally of large stature, robust, 
capable of enduring great fatigue, and very mus- 
cular and strong ; they certainly as a rule ai§ 

S ketches in Carbery. 

built in a larger mould than the inhabitants of the 

Formerly one or two families in the island 
(O'Driscolls) were celebrated for their gigantic 
stature, one celebrated specimen in particular, wbo 
flourished about a hundred years ago, named Cruathir 
(Cornelius) O'Cadogan, sobriquet for O'Driscoll. 
He was a man of immense proportions, and his cele- 
brated feats of strength are still recited at times upon 
the island. "We will refer to this giant again in 
connection with Tra-Kieran. Dr. Smith, who visited ' 
Cape, a little over a century ago, pays a very high 
compliment to the Capers. He says : " The natives 
pay their reut by fish ; when a bad season comes they 
fall in arrears, but very honestly clear them off when 
fish returns ; they are strong and healthy, die chiefly 
of old age, owing to temperate habits ; brandy drink- 
ing being the only debauch (I suppose he must mean 
when a stray keg of brandy drifts in from a wreck 
near the island, a rare event) ; they are kind to each 
other, courteous to strangers, and excellent pilots." 

Lewis remarks that " the men are expert and reso- 
lute seamen, and the best pilots on the coast ; they 
are remarkable for discerning land at a distance in 
snowy or foggy weather, possess an uncommon 
sagacity in discovering the approach of bad weather, 
and are exceedingly skilful in the management of 
their vessels." 

At the eastern end of Cape Clear there is a shelv- 
ing strand called File-Cooagh,* which, from being 
the most adjacent point of debarkation from the 
mainland, has been used by the inhabitants as a 
convenient site where they may haul up their boats. 

* The Cliff of the Cuckoo. 

Sketches in Citrbery. 71 

A deep cutting has been made in the side of the cliff, 
near the strand, and up this precipitous incline the 
stalwart boatmen pull their heavy six-oared boats, 
displaying wonderful strength in its accomplishment. 
Occasionally, however, during very heavy weather, 
the sea has on one or two occasions encroached, and 
swept away some of the boats. Here the post-boat, 
presented by Sir Robert Peel, used to land, but, un- 
fortunately, during a severe gale some years ago, 
it was washed away, and since that time its place 
has not been supplied, a cause of great inconvenience 
in the postal arrangements of the island. By means 
of some additional labour, and with very little cost, 
it would be possible to complete the useful work 
begun, but not accomplished, of lowering the level 
and increasing the breadth of the present cutting, 
which would then be a convenient and safe dry- 
dock for the open boats, so indispensable to the 

My allusion to the post-boat, called after Lady 
Peel, awakes at once the memory of the name of the 
respected and much lamented pastor, whose untiring 
energies and deep devotion to the interests of the 
inhabitants of Cape Clear, during a most eventful 
period in the history of that island, ought to be re- 
corded with honourable and well-deserved mention. 
In the year 1862, Cape Clear suffered severely from 
destitution . Failure in the potato crop, a bad harvest, 
a scarcity of fish, and a general depression of trade 
throughout the country — all combined to weigh 
heavily upon the poor fishermen, and in spite of 
their best efforts to struggle against the tide of ad- 
versity, they would have been borne down, and 
swamped by the accumulation of misfortune and 
misery which threatened them ? and which they were 


Sketches in Carbery. 


quite unable, under the circumstances, to contend 

Happily for themselves, at this desperate crisis, 
they had as their parish-priest the late Rev. 
H. Leader, a gentleman whose generous and 
noble exertions in the cause of suffering huma- 
nity were rewarded in a great measure by suc- 
cess, and whose kind philanthropy and active 
advocacy of their cause helped to ward off famine, 
misery, and death from many a homestead, which 
would otherwise be desolate and deserted. Influenced 
by the necessity of the moment, he determined on 
proceeding at once to England to lay the real state 
of the case before the Government, and contrived to 
have a personal interview with Earl Russell and 
Lord Palmerston, who were then in power, and who 
were so impressed with the truth of his statements, 
and so convinced of the fact — tha# a famine was 
impending over the island— that they not only gave 
an audience to the reverend petitioner, but also con- 
tributed personally by charitable subscriptions to 
relieve the distress. They also drew the attention 
of Sir Robert Peel, then Secretary for Ireland, to 
the matter. 

Sir Robert Peel, in company with Father Leader, 
visited Cape. The former presented a donation of 
his own accord, and also established a postal com- 
munication between the island and the main shore. 
At the same time a plan was originated for securing 
South Harbour by means of a break-water against 
the S. E. gale. This necessary work was not how- 
ever completed, as the cost of its construction, £5,000, 
was considered too expensive by the Commissioners 
of Fisheries. At the same time it would have been 
p, great advantage by giving employment to the 

Sketches in Carbery. 7.3 

inhabitants, and thereby relieving their immediate 
wants by the wages which would have accrued, and 
also a permanent benefit by securing for them a 
sheltered and commodious harbour, where they could 
safely anchor their pilot boats and hookers. 

Nevertheless, the Rev. H. Leader no way abated 
' in his praiseworthy ardour. Several families, assisted 
by sums of money which he collected from charitable 
sources, emigrated to Canada and the United States. 
The most munificent patroness at the time was Lady 
Coutts, who has been always so distinguished by her 
liberal and benevolent contributions to charitable 
undertakings. This lady subscribed a large sum of 
money to relieve the wants of the islanders, and has 
always, at subsequent periods, been most prominent 
in her response to everything connected with the 
material welfare of the poor people of Cape. It is 
unnecessary to dilate at furtber length on the 
good works of the Rev. H. Leader, and his many 
amiable and genial traits of character ; they are em- , 
balmed in the memory, and deeply engraved in the 
hearts of the present generation of Carbery. His 
was a character deservedly admired,, not alone for 
his frank, manly bearing, kindness, of heart, and 
social, hospitable disposition of the highest order, 
but chiefly for the heroic and unselfish manner in 
whichj on the eve of a great public calamity in Cape 
Clear, he boldly anticipated the evil, and helped to 
mitigate the sufferings of the poor people entrusted 
to his pastoral care. Such conduct won for him the 
lasting respect, still shown to his memory, of all 
creeds and classes of the community — 

" This passing tribute we must offer to his name, 
Which speaks but feebly of his worth and fame," . 

74 Sketches in Carhenj. 

About two years ago the Eev. J. O'Rourke, * 
P. P., M- R. I. A., paid a visit to Cape Clear, whilst 
on a tour through Ireland in search of information 
concerning the great Irish Famine of 1847, and in 
the work which has recently issued from his pen 
upon that subject, he has alluded at full length to 
this part of the country in connection with the narra- 
tive of what he truly describes as " one of the most 
terrible episodes in the chequered history of our 
native land." However melancholy the subject may 
be, it is one which must engage the attention and 
Bad interest of the historian, statesman, and political 
economist, whilst studying and investigating into 
the causes of that terrible catastrophe fits desolating 
effects, and the remedies suggested, adopted, and 
neglected in grappling with a climax of misery and 
misfortune amongst a suffering people, perhaps un- 
paralleled in the history of any country. 

The author's work, which has been recently pub- 
lished by Messrs. M'Grlashan and Gill, and J. Duffy 
and Sons, of Dublin, in a handsome volume of 550 
pages, refleots much credit on the writer. It is the 
production of several years' study and laborious re- 
search, necessitating the closest reading, and an 
accurate intimacy with the all-important documents, 
state-papers, &c, of the period. Moreover, he has 
supplied a fund of information, the result of personal 
interview^, with prominent persons, who had been 
actively engaged on relief-committees, and as corre- 
spondents for the press during that disastrous-period. 
All the subject matter is skilfully arranged, and the 
various important extracts ably commented upon. 
We might add that it is the first complete work 
which hasyet been written upon " The Irish Famine," 
and one which records, in truthful and impressive 

Sketches in Carboy. 75 

language, every circumstance connected with that 
terrible event. The style is graphic, lucid, and con- 
cise ; the arguments logical and forcible, whilst some 
of the passages are marked by an elegance of diction 
and a simple unaffected eloquence which immediately 
command our attention and appeal strongly to the 
noblest emotions of the mind. 

A large portion of the work is devoted to an account 
of the sufferings from want in Skibbereen and the 
surrounding country, more especially as it was in 
our own neighbourhood the vortex of the storm pre- 
vailed that swept over the land, which it wrapped 
in the shadow of death, leaving more wrecks of 
humanity in its wake than the typhoons of China 
or the hurricanes of the West Indies. The " History 
of the Famine of 1847," by the Eev. J. O'Eourke, 
is a work which is well worthy of perusal, and the 
writer has condensed his extensive information, and 
arranged all his sentences and paragraphs in so 
complete, intelligible, and interesting a manner that 
the most inattentive reader cannot fail to be con- 
vinced of the ability, erudition, and patient research 
of the writer, who seems to have adopted the follow- 
ing motto throughout — "Nothing shall I extenuate, 
nor set down aught in malice." The earlier por- 
tions of the volume are devoted to a brief history of 
previous famines in Ireland, and an account of the 
ravages of the ^potato blight of 1845. Allusion is 
made to the plan proposed by the great O'Connell 
for dealing with the impending famine, which plan 
was, in reality — had it been adopted — the only far- 
seeing, wise, precautionary, and statesmanlike mea- 
sure which could have warded off famine and death 
from thousands of the people. 

The Liberator's proposal, brought forward on the 

76 Sketches in Carbery. 

28th October, 1845, at a meeting of the Dublin 
Corporation, was : " 1st, The immediate stoppage of 
distillation and brewing; the prohibition of exports 
of all kind of provisions to foreign counti-ies ; and 
the free opening of our own ports for -provisions 
from other countries. In addition, the immediate 
purchase of pro zisions by Government for the starv- 
ing poor, by a sum of one million, raised by neces- 
sary taxation, &c- Unfortunately, no heed was 
given to the proposal. Time, more precious than 
money, was heedlessly wasted in useless committees 
and superfluous scientific investigations. In count- 
less instances the relief came afterwards when it wa3 
too late. The vital spark was extinct, and could 
not be fanned back into a flame. The disease might 
have been anticipated, but could not be cured, and 
the gaunt spectres of famine and disease were allowed 
to stalk over the land, mowing down with relentless 
scythe their hecatombs of victims ; sparing no age 
nor sex, neither the robust and stalwart peasant in 
the prime of maDhood, the babe at the mother's 
breast, nor the old man tottering to the grave.* We 
select the following very beautiful passage from 
Father O'Eourke's book, which refers to his visit to 
Abbeystrowry. It is one of fine descriptive power, 
written in a strain of unaffected and truly pathetic 
eloquence, and a graceful simplicity of style, which 
must at once engage the attention of the reader, and 
satisfy the most critical observer. Suffice it to say, 
in conclusion, that the rest of the work is sustained 
with equal ability. 

* Many very noble examples of private benevolence, generosity, 
and of self-sacrificing zeal were displayed by persons of all creeds 
and classes throughout Great Britain, Ireland, and America during 
this terrible catastrophe. 


- » 

Sketches in Carhery. 

• i 


" Some twenty years after the famine-scourge had passed away, 
and oyer two millions of the Irish people with it, I visited Skibbe- 
reen. Approaching the town from the (. ork side it looks rather an 
important place. It is the seat of the Catholic Bishop of Ross, and 
attention is immediately arrested by a group of fine ecclesiastical 
buildings on an elevated plateau to the left, just beside the road, or 
street I should rather say, for those buildings are the beginning of 
the town ;- they consist of a cathedral and a convent, with very 
commodious schools, and a pretty Gothic chapel. On the other side 
of the way is the schoolhouse, in shade of which the military were 
concealed on the day the Caharagh labourers invaded Skibbereen. 
A short distance beyond the town, the wooded hill of Knockomagh, 
rising to a considerable height, overhangs Lough Hyne, one of the 
most beautiful spots in Ireland. Some miles to the westward lies 
the pretty island of Sherkin, which, with Tullagh to the east, makes 
the charming little bay of Baltimore completely land-locked. Out in 
front of all, like a giant sentinel, stands the island of Cape Clear, 
breasting with its defiant strength that vast ocean whose waves 
foam around it, lashing its shores and rushing up its crannied bluffs, 
still and for ever to be flung back in shattered spray by those bold 
and rocky headlands. 

" My informant was right about my going to Abbey strewry. I 
had already inquired the way to it, and had learned that it was half 
a mile or so beyond Bridgetown. I wished my interesting informant 
good evening, and pursued my walk. Coming to the highest point 
of the road, beyond Bridgetown, a very charming landscape opened 
before me, made up of the Valley of the Ben and the agreeably 
undulating country beyond it. The river at this place is wide and 
shallow, and, judging from the noble bridge by which it is spanned, 
it must be sometimes greatly swollen. The evening was bright and 
pleasant, the sun had gone far westward, and the effect of his light, 
as it played on the scarcely rippled water, and shone through the 
high empty arches of the bridge, standing like open gateways in the 
shallow stream, made me pause for a moment to take in the whole 

" It was during this time that I discovered, immediately beyond 
the river, the object of greatest interest to me — the object, in fact, 
,of my journey — the churchyard of Abbeystrewry. There was the 
spot in which a generation of the people of Skibbereen was buried 
in a year and a half. Those places where poor humanity is laid to 
rest, when life's work is done, have been always regarded as holy 
ground: cities of the dead, solemn and suggestive. But this was 
more ; in its lonely seclusion, in its dark and terrible history, it was 

■?8 Sketches in Larbeti). 

exciting in its impressiveness. In the still sunlight evening, wooed 
to rest one could imagine by the gentle murmur of the lien, its 
little clump of gnarled trees, grouped around its scanty ruin, was a 
picture of such complete repose as to make the most thoughtless re- 
flective. I entered. Immediately inside the gate, a little to the 
right, are those monster graves, called by the people " the pits," 
into which the bodies were thrown coffinless in hundreds, without 
mourning or ceremony — hurried away by stealth, frequently at the 
dead of night, to elude observation, and to enable the survivors to 
attend the public works next day, and thus prolong for a while their 
unequal conquest with all-conquering Famine. 

"A difficulty arose in my mind with regard to the manner of in- 
terment in those pits. Great numbers I knew were interred in each 
of them, for which reason they must have been kept open a con- 
siderable time. Tet surely, I reflected, something resembling inter- 
ment must have taken place on the arrival of each corpse, especially 
as it was coffinless. The contrivance, as I afterwards learned, was 
simple enough. A little sawdust was sprinkled over each corpse on 
being laid in the pit, which was thus kept open until it had received 
its full complement of tenants. To trace one's steps slowly and 
respectfully among the graves of those who have reached the goal 
of life in the ordinary course fills one with holy warnings ! To 
stand beside the monument raised on the battle-field to the brave 
men who fell there calls up heroic echoes in the heart ; but here 
there is no room for sentiment ; here, in humiliation and sorrow, not 
unmixed with indignation, one is driven to exclaim — 

* Oh, God ! that tread should he so dear, 
And human flesh so cheap.' 

" Although thus cast down by earthly feelings, Divine Faith raises 
one up again ! Divine-Faith ! the noblest and brightest and holiest 
gift of &od to man, always teaching us to look heavenward ! Excel- 
sior in its theme for ever ! And who can doubt but the Grod of all 
consolation and mercy received the souls of his famine-slain poor 
into that kingdom of glory where He dwells, and which He had 
purchased for them at so great a price. Even in their imperfections 
and sins they were like to Him in many ways ; they were poor, they 
were despised, they had not whereon to lay their head ; they were 
long suffering, too ; in the deepest pangs which they had suffered 
from hunger and burning thirst (the last and most terrible effects of 
hunger), they cursed not, they reviled not; they only yearned for the 
consolations of their holy religion, and looked hopefully to Him for 
a better world. It is one of the sweetest consolations taught us by 
holy Faith that the bones now withered and nameless in those famins 
pits, where they were laid in their shroudless misery, shall one day, 
touched by His Almighty power, be reunited to these happy souls 
in a union that can know no end and feel no sorrow." 

Sketches in CarberiJ. 


Keferring to the graveyard near Eoaring "Water, 
the author says : — 

" This graveyard, looking out upon the restless waters from its 
quiet elevation, must remain for ages the most historic spot in the 
locality, although Skull is not without a history and historic remains. 
Many a castle and stronghold have the O'Mahonvs and O'Donovana 
built among the crags of the rocky islands, which are grouped in 
such variety to seaward, the ruins of which are to-day full of beauty 
and interest for the tourist. But surely the day will come when 
those crumbling ruins shall be once again a portion of the -common 
soil, nameless and forgotten ; but distant though the day may be, 
Skull and Skibbereen, those two famine-slain Sisters of the South, 
must still be found on the page of Irish history, illustrating the 
great famine of 1847." 


8() Sketches in Carbery. 


Cape Clear continued— History of St. Kieran, patron saint of the 
island — Description of a severe storm in Cape during February,. 
1874 — Dunanore Castle, and the legend connected with it — General 
description of the ancient feudal castles, their architecture, and 
internal economy — Beautiful yiew from Dun-an-Ore — A glance at 
Irish history during the close of the.lCth century. 

The most interesting circumstance connected with 
the history of Cape Clear, and from which it has ' 
derived the name of Insula Sanctci Clarce, is the fact 
of its having been the birth-place of St. Kieran, who 
preceded St. Patrick by thirty years. According to the 
"Annals of Innisfallen" and "Ussher's Chronological 
Index," St. Kieran was born in Cape Clear, A. D. 352. 
In the 'Annals"thefollowingnotice is given (Transl.) : 
"A. D. 352, St. Ciaran, Bishop of Saighir, and 
patron saint of the people of Ossoraidhe ( Ossory), 
was born in the island called Cape (Cleire) Clear, a 
promontory of Corca Laidhe, in the county Cork." 
" A. D. 402. Ciaran and Declan, two bishops, came 
from Rome to preach the Gospel in Ireland. Ciaran, 
after having preached the Gospel in Inis-Cleire and 
all over Corca Laidhe (Carbery), founded a bishop's 
see at Saighir in Ossory, and Declan also another 
bishop's see at Ardmore in the Desies." The limited 
extent of his mission as a Christian preacher, and 
the greater renown of St. Patrick, the brilliancy of 
whose fame threw all minor luminaries in the shade, 
have combined to obscure more or less the history 
of the patron saint of Cape, whose name is sometimes 
also mistaken for St. Ciaran of Clonmacnois,* another 

Sketches in Carbery. 


distinguished divine, but entirely distinct. The 
latter flourished in the beginning of the b'th century, 
and founded the celebrated abbey at Clonmacnoise 
on the eastern bank of the Shannon, in the King's 

That St. Kieran of Cape Clear must have been a 
man distinguished by rare perfection of mind and 
holiness of life, great energy of character, and deep 
devotion to his calling, is evident from the account, 
brief and meagre though itlbe, we are able to obtain 
from reliable sources. His birth-place was in the 
immediate vicinity of Kintracht (White-strand), 
called since that remarkable event Trakieran im- 
mediately within sight of the dwelling-house, where 
afterwards a chapel dedicated to his name was erected 
called St. Kieran's chapel. The ruins maj' still be 
observed, of a more modern edifice, however ; occu- 
pying the same position near the sea, and including 
within the aisle and choir an ancient burial-place. 
In the centre of Tra- Kieran, deeply imbedded in 
the sand, we observe a remarkable pillar-stone, said 
to be the work of St. Kieran's own hauds, and fixed 
in this locality in order to commemorate his name, 
and to be pointed out as a memorial of his Christian 
mission. The tradition regarding this circumstance 
has been handed down from generation to generation 
in an unbroken line, and is as fresh to-day in the 
minds of the inhabitants of Cape Clear, as when, 
fourteen centuries and a half ago (a long space of 
time), St. Kieran converted their pagan ancestors to 
Christianity, thus gaining far himself the title of 
"Primarius Hibernite Sanctorum" (first in order of 
time of the saints in Ireland). 

The pillar-stone referred to is a promiuent object 
on the strand of North Harbour ; it- is firmly fis§d 


82 Sketches in Carbery. 

in the sand, of an oblong shape, about three feet 
high, and eighteen inches in circumference. We 
can still, on close examination, discover towards the 
summit, traces of two sculptured crosses, slightly 
raised above the surface of the stone. In the genea- 
logies of Hi-Fiacrach, reference is made to a similar 
cross, sculptured on a pillar-stone, by St. Patrick, 
at Ballina, Tirawley. Close to the pillar-stone at 
Tra-Kieran, a miniature well — a mere hollow in the 
sand— exists. Over this the tide encroaches at high 
water ; however, on its receding, the water in the 
well is perfectly fresh, being fed by a spring which 
comes up from a deep source. This is called St. 
Kieran's Well. The 5th March, the anniversary 
of St. Kieran's birth, is still observed as a holiday 
on the island of Cape Clear ; this custom has survived 
from time immemorial. The name of the saint is 
also commonly adopted as a Christian name, Kieran 
Driscoll being a not unusual title. 

Smith, who visited Cape about a century ago, has 
made the following allusion in the "History of Cork" 
to Cape Clear, and also to St. Kieran : — " Cape Clear 
island is the most southern part of Ireland, and 
contains twelve ploughlands; on the north-west 
point stands a castle, built on a rock in the sea, 
called Dunanore, to the east of which is the cove of 
Tra-Kieran, or St. Kieran's Strand, where we find a 
pillar of stone, with a cross rudely cut towards the 
top, supposed to have been the work of that saint ; 
this stone is held in great veneration by an incredible 
number of pilgrims, who assemble round it every 
5th March, on which day his festival is celebrated; 
a church in ruins under the invocation of St. Kieran 
adjoins this pillar." 

In the year 402, St. Kieran, after convert- 

Sketches in Carbery. 83 

ing the people of Cape Clear and Corca Laidhe 
(Carbery), proceededto Ossory, where he founded a 
bishop's see at Saigher, called after him Serkieran a 
townland in the parish of same name in the barony 
of- Bally britain, King's County. The ruins of an 
ancient church point out where he settled. The 
episcopal throne, or chair, of St. Kieran, is still pre- 
served in the beautiful and ancient church of St. 
Canice, Kilkenny ; it is made of stone, of graceful 
proportions, and stands in the north transept. As 
additional evidence and authority, besides Ussher and 
the " Annals of Innisfallen," we find the following 
remarks by "Wright : — "This patriarch (St.-Ciaran) 
is believed to have preceded St. Patrick by thirty 
years in his holy mission, and to have been the first 
to preach Christianity in Ireland." Wills also men- 
tions the following : — " At the coming of St. Patrick, 
four Cbristian preachers are mentioned by old Irish 
testimonies to have been before him and still living 
in his time — these were Ailbe, afterwards first 
bishop of Emly; Declan of Ardmore; Kieran of 
Saigre (by successive translation removed to Kil- 
kenny) ; and Ibar of Beg Iri, a small island off the 
Wexford coast." 

Of all these St. Kieran was the most prominent 
and distinguished, and the truth of his claims to an- 
tecedence can hardly be disputed when written history 
and tradition proclaim the fact so unmistakably. It 
is a subject of much interest, especially, when we reflect 
that, if this be so, the pillar-stone at Cape Clear is at pre- 
sent the oldest Christian relic of the past to be seen in 
Great Britain and Ireland, and that the island of Cape 
Clear and ancient Carbery were the first bright spots in 
the pagan wilderness where the lights of Christianity 
shone under the guidance of St. Kieran, thirty years 

84 Sketches in Carbery. 

before the apostle, St. Patrick, converted all Ireland 
to the Christian faith. In "CorcaLaidhe" reference 
is made to the life of St. Kieran, the most interesting 
being that of the " Scholiast of Aengus," who has 
minutely recorded the following particulars, trans- 
lated into Latin by the celebrated Colgan (Acta, s. s. 
p. 471.) I give a literal translation of the latter. 
" Kieran was son of Brandubius^ son of Bressalnis, 
son of Bran, son of Fianboth, &c. ; Liedania of the 
Stock of Laidhe, son of Ith (paternal uncle or 
Milesius), was mother of St. Kieran, and Fintracht is 
the name of the place in which he was born, and the 
inhabitants of Corca Laidhe (Carbery) were the first 
who believed in Christianity in Ireland. But Kieran 
inhabited Saighir (Ossory) thirty years before the 

arrival of St. Patrick Kieran was Pri- 

marius (first in order of time) of the Saints of 
Ireland. He was also a man rich. in the possession 
of herds. His herd-house, or ' Bovile,' had ten 
gates, and ten special stalls; in each were ten 
heifers, &c. (This must refer to the time when he 
was Bishop of Saighir.) Kieran appropriated nothing 
of the produce or milk during his lifetime, but dis- 
tributed the entire amongst the poor and distressed 
Christians. He also had fifty yoke-horses for the 
plough and agricultural purposes ; neither, however, 
did he partake of anything of their produce, nor did he 
eat wheaten bread in his entire life. His daily food, 
which he took only in the evening, was a mouthful 
of barley bread, with a dessert of raw herbs, and a 
draught of cold water. His garment was made of 
deer-skins, bound round with a girdle of untanned 
hide, and when he rested for a while, his couch was 
a rock." 

Such i^ the account we obtain regarding the 

Sketches in Carbery. 


manner of life pursued by the first Christian saint 
of Ireland, as self-denying, simple, and abstemious 
as that of the most rigid hermit, with the difference 
that it was attended by more practical and beneficial 
results to mankind. The foregoing is but a very 
brief and imperfect sketch, compiled from trust- 
worthy sources, of the life of the renowned saint of 
Cape Clear, Carbery, and Ossory. However, it will, 
perhaps, tend to develop additional facts regarding 
the history of one whose name is identified with 
everything that is distinguished, noble, and truly 

In the " Monasticon Hibernicon" we learn that 
during the years 820, '24, and '25, Cape Clear suf- 
fered many devastations by the Danes. Cork city 
was also pillaged at the same time by these unre- 
lenting pirates who visited Cape so unceremoniously 
on their first arrival in Ireland. " St. Comgall, a 
disciple of St. JFinbarr (6th century), was Abbott of 
Cape Clear, and also Saint Cillian. A. D. 953 died 
the Abbot, Dunalang, who was son of O'Donagan. 
A. D. 960 the island was again despoiled by the 
Danes." Thus it will appear that during the very 
earliest era of Christianity, Cape Clear had attained 
a remarkable notoriety — a fact which must be attri- 
buted not alone to its prominent geographical posi- 
tion, but also to the fame it had attained as the Insula. 
Sancta Clarce — being the birth-place of the good St. 

Dr. Joyce, in his admirable work entitled " Irish 
Names of Places," refers at some length to the his- 
tory of St. Kieran ; he is adverse to the opinion that 
St. Kieran preceded St. Patrick, and his ideas on 
the subject are in accordance with those of some 
other authorities ; still the evidence adduced in the 

8(> Sketches in C&rberfj. 

foregoing paragraph, which includes names of high 
repute, goes to strengthen the popular tradition and 
belief as to St. Kieran having been the earliest of 
the Irish saints. As the remarks of Dr. Joyce on 
the subject I am discussing are most interesting, 
and as it is only right when an important event is 
being recorded that the statements 'pro and con should 
be thoroughly discussed, I submit the following 
extract from the work of that learned antiquarian 
and philologist : — 

" There were many saints named Ciaran or Kieran, but two of 
them were distinguished beyond the others, St. Ciaran of Clonmac- 
noise, of whom I shall not speak here, and St. Ciaran of Ossory. 
Eegarding the exact period when the latter flourished there is much 
uncertainty ; but according to the most reliable accounts he became 
a bishop about the year 538. He was born in the island of Cape 
Clear ; but his father Ligneus was a native of Ossory, and of kingly 
descent. Ciaran was one of the numerous band of saints who 
attended St. Finian's school at Clonard ; and having retired to a 
solitary place called Saighir (Sair) in the territory of Eilein Munster, 
he after some time erected a-monastery there, which gradually grew, 
and beeair.e the nucleus of a town. He subsequently employed him- 
self partly in the care of his monastery and partly in preaching the 
gospel to the Ossorians and others, of whom he collected great 
numbers. According to a gloss in the " Felire of Aengus" at the 5th 
of March (Ciaran's festival day), Saighir was the name of a fountain; 
after the saint's time it was called Saighir-Ciaran, which is now 
contracted to Seirkieran, the name of a parish near Parsonstown ; 
Ciaran is also the patron of Rathkieran in Kilkenny, where he pro- 
bably built his church near a pagan rath, which took his name. On 
the island of Cape Clear traditions of St. "Ciaran still flit among the 
peasantry. An ancient little church retains the name of Kilkieran, 
and a strand in one part of the island is called Trakieran (Ciaran's 
strand) on which stands a primitive stone cross, said to have been 
made by the saint's own hands. St. Ciaran established a nunnery 
near Seirkieran for his mother Liadhan (Leean) or Liedaniu ; and 
from her the place has since borne the name of Rillyon (Liedhan's 
church). It is highly probable that it is from her also that the 
pariih of Ballyon in Meath, and the townland of Killyon in the 
parish of Dunflerth, KUdare, received their names." 

Opposite Tra-Kieran, on the south side of the. 

Sketches in Carbery. 


island, is South Harbour, which is separated from 
the former by a narrow rocky isthmus. In the 
vicinity is a collection of cabins of most unpretend- 
ing appearance, forming a sort of fishing hamlet. 
The priest's residence is near the beach, and the 
climate here, owing to the southerly aspect, is so 
mild and warm during the summer that potatoes 
are quite ripe towards the end of May. Of late an 
improvement is being effected in the residences of 
the inhabitants, who also suffer less from destitution 
than in former times. South Harbour possesses a 
good depth of water, but, owing to its exposure to 
the S. E. gales, which blow at times so violently, the 
anchorage is unsafe. It would require a large ex- 
penditure of money to construct a breakwater or 
pier, which would give sufficient shelter to vessels. 
The present miniature breakwater is of no practical 

The following strange story is related by Smith 
in connection with South Harbour. "About 120 
years ago a large vessel, with a valuable cargo on 
board, homeward bound from the "West Indies, was 
overtaken by a storm near Cape Clear. She was in 
great danger, having several feet of water in her 
hold, and the captain, fearing that she would not 
remain afloat until morning— whether by good luck 
or good management it is impossible to say — steered 
her during the night into the harbour by the light 
of a candle from a cabin on the island. Great was 
his amazement the following morning to find him- 
self safely deposited in a snug basin, though- quite 
io-norant of the locality, as he had lost his reckoning 
cfuring the gale." This was certainly a hair- 
breadth escape, as, had he deviated in the slight- 
est' degree from the narrow channel leading in, 


Sketches in Carbery. 

the ship would have been dashed to pieces on the 

On the eastern side of 'the harbour the cliffs attain 
to a considerable height, having to confront the fierce 
onset of wind and wave ; they are also hollowed out 
by the continual undermining action-of the sea at 
their base into numerous caves, many of which run 
in to a considerable length, and form natural arch- 
ways, some with two openings externally. These 
caves abound with sea-birds and pigeons, and here 
we also observe, during the summer months, puffins 
in great numbers. Tranquil as the scene may appear 
in fine weather, when everything is hushed into 
silence, and no sound heard save the rippling of the 
tide on the beach, or the scream of the sea-birds, or 
the measured sound of oars in a solitary fishino- boat 
or two — at such a time a sensation steals over the 
visitor to this Ultima Thule, as if he had been 
banished far away into the ocean from the busy 
haunts of men into some remote spot where solitude 
reigns supreme— how different is the aspect of 
Nature in the winter months, when fierce, angry, 
waves roll in from the ocean, and storms cut off all 
communication with the mainland. 

One of the severest gales which has happened for 
the last thirty years, and one which has proved most 
disastrous to shipping and destructive to human life, 
occurred on the 10th and 11th February, 1874. 
The writer happened to be on the island during the 
time it prevailed, and witnessed, to some" extent^ the 
storm, which almost attained the proportions of a 
hurricane, Experientia docet. Embarking at Balti- 
more in a fine six-oared boat, manned by six stalwart 
Capers, we made a rapid passage across the Grasco- 
nane, and landed at the eastern extremity of the 


Sketches in Carhery. 


along a narrow 

island. A walk of about two miles 
hilly pathway, which runs through the centre of the 
island, brought us to our destination, South Harbour. 
Towards the evening of the 9th February the sky 
assumed an appearance ominous of bad weather, and 
a gale sprung up from the S. E. (the most dangerous 
point of the compass along the eoast) which, gradually 
increasing in force, became a regular storm towards 
the morning of the 10th. The sky became" covered 
with dingy, murky-looking clouds — 

Flitting o'erhead in fierce array, 

Like dark squadrons marshalling for the fray 

— the wind sighed and shrieked and roared alter- 
nately, with a dismal, wailiug sound, blowing in 
angry squalls and fitful gusts, which almost stopped 
one's locomotion. No boat could possibly be launched 
in such weather. The view of the sea during the 
height of the gale was grand and imposing in the 
highest degree. 

Perhaps in few places can the ocean during a 
storm be seen in more sublime grandeur, with such 
towering .waves and foam-crested billows, than off 
the precipitous headlands of St. Kieran's isle. There 
are no promontories or rocky barriers in the immediate 
vicinity to check the roll of the Atlantic tide, as it 
sweeps majestically along, and when a winter gale 
from the S. E. prevails, the waves near the island 
are literally mountain-high. The gale of the 10th 
and 11th February has not been equalled in severity, 
the islanders say, within the last forty years. Quan- 
tities of driftwood, sad emblems of shipwreck, floated 
into the harbour, and dead fish — ling, whiting, pol- 
lock, &c. — strewed the beach, proving the terrible 
violence of the sea. The destruction of fish during 

90 Sketches in Carberp. 

a severe storm arises not so much from their being 
dashed against the rocks as from their being choked 
by the sand and mud raised from the bottom in the . 
shallow water, and which block up the gills, pre- 
venting the proper exercise, necessary for life, of the 
function of respiration. The gills are generally 
found clogged and matted together with sand and 

At the entrance of South Harbour, which faces 
the S E., the sea assumed quite a terrible appear- 
ance. Each mighty wave, as it rolled in from 'the 
ocean, broke with a noise like thunder against the 
steep cliffs on the bold headlands which bound the 
harbour's mouth on either side. Huge, lofty columns 
of fleecy-looking foam, and long lines of undulating 
feathery spray enveloped like snow-flakes the jutting 
rocks, burst over the summits of the cliffs in white 
clouds, gradually melting away and becoming lost 
to view, to be succeeded by others similar in appear- 
ance, as each advancing wave came on. The fol- 
lowing day, when the wind had subsided, and the 
sea became somewhat calm, told its sorrowful tale of 
the disasters of the deep, as along the coast several 
wrecks had occurred, and many ships — after hair- 
breadth and most extraordinary escapes from the 
perils of the ocean, with damaged rigging and bat- 
tered hulls — were obliged to seek the friendly shelter 
of Orookhaven and Baltimore. 

In a cabin close to South Harbour, during the 
month of December, 1869, a most disastrous accident 
occurred, owing to the explosion of a quantity of 
petroleum (rock ' oil), a most explosive compound. 
The cask containing the fluid was picked up not far 
from the beach, a portion of wreck cargo. The 
captors proceeded to divide the spoil, but unibrtu- 


Skefchcs in Carbeiy- 9i 

natelj one heedlessly approached the cask with a' 
lighted candle, when the petroleum ignited, and a 
terrible explosion resulted, causing the loss of five 
lives. It was even strange how any of the inmates 
of the house escaped destruction. So intense was 
the heat, that the delf ware and the glass bottles 
became fused into one mass. 

A short distance to the west of Tra-Kieran, on a 
projecting rocky headland on the south-west side of 
the island, we observe the ruins of Dunanore Castle 
— The O'Driscoll's fortress. This castle formed a 
safe retreat to the occupants in times of danger, i. e., 
before artillery came into use. A more impregnable 
site cannot be well imagined. The building occupied 
the entire of the solitary rock, on which it was built, 
and was connected with the mainland by means of 
a narrow isthmus or causeway, which must ori- 
ginally have been tunnelled through the centre. 
On every other side it was inaccessible, a barrier 
of steep cliffs surrounding the castle walls, and re- 
sisting not alone the fury of the elements but also 
defying the aggressive attacks of human foes. The 
causeway, when Smith visited the island in 1770, 
was a narrow and dangerous pathway from the 
mainland to the castle. He speaks of it in the fol- 
lowing terms: — "There is a very narrow passage, 
about a yard broad and ten yards in length, to this 
castle. This path is high and steep on both sides, 
the sea on either side being so very deep, that few 
but persons well used to it will venture to walk it 
over. When I got to the top of this castle, and saw 
the ocean rolling on all sides of the rock, I wished 
heartily to be again on the mainland." 

This description would not apply to the place at 
present. By the continual action of the waves the 




92 Sketches in Carberp. 

- • 

narrow passage has been nearly washed away, and 
the height ahove the water level is only a few feet ; 
in fact, sometimes at high water the castle plateau 
becomes completely insulated. Dun an ore (the Golden 
Fort) is supposed to have beeu first erected about 
the beginning of the 13th century; the ruins at 
present consist of a portion of the side walls of the 
central tower or donjon, the eastern wall has fallen 
to the ground, but so firmly united together are the " 
stones, by the grouting process used in the masonry, 
that the greater part of the fallen structure remains 
in one solid mass. Nearly all traces of the outer 
buildings which surrounded the tower, viz., bastions, 
curtains, &c, and the dwellings which were occupied 
by the chieftain's retainers, have disappeared — these 
were built of more fragile materials, and hence it is 
that at the present day, although we observe the 
various central towers of the ancient castles thickly 
scattered over the face of the country, and their 
massive walls standing as monuments of the feudal 
ages, we fail to discover the relics of the subordi- 
nate structures w&ich used to surround the Bawn or 

Most of the old castles, whose picturesque ruins 
strike our attention, and add an additional charm to 
the beautiful scenery of our native isle, were con- 
structed in the begiuning of the 13th century. The 
style of architecture was principally introduced by 
the feudal barons from Normandy into England and 
Ireland. However, according to a distinguished 
Corkman, Windele, in his charming work entitled 
" South of Ireland," " of 106 castles erected within 
the county of Cork, 56 alone were built by Irish 
chieftains (twenty-six of these belonging to the 
Mac Carthys), and fifty-nine by the Anglo-Irish 

1 » 

Sketches in Carbery. 


families of Barry, Fitzgerald, Barret, &c. In Kerry 
of thirty-nine castles enumerated, twenty-nine were 
built by the Milesian Irish." The massive walls of 
the tower, sometimes twelve feet thick, were built of 
rough, unhewn stones, and the wonderful stability 
they still possess bears evidence of the skill used in 
their construction. The lower chambers had vaulted 
roofs of stone, and were dark, gloomy apartments, 
used by the retainers and menials, and lighted by 
narrow loopholes in the walls, which served as win- 
dows. Circular winding stone staircases, which 
never rejoiced in the luxury of a carpet, wound 
along the angles of thejtower from the basement to 
the upper story, surmounting which at the top the 
battlemented walls projected in crenelated or machi- 
colated parapets, resting on corbels, and permitting 
of a passage at the summit between the parapet and 
the roof, which was a very necessary "point d'appui" 
when an attacking force approached the castle. 
From here the garrison discharged their arrows or 
guns as the case might be, or hurled down stones on 
the heads of their enemies. About midway up we 
observe, inside the walls, the stone corbels on which 
the. wooden floors of the upper story used to rest. 
These floors have long ago decayed and disappeared 
from the influence of the weather, and hence it is 
that the castles are such complete shells. The upper 
stories were the state apartments, where the chief 
and his family resided, and some of them, where an 
advance had been made in the refinements of life, 
were hung with' tapestry, and ornamented with 
curious weapons and implements of the chase Win- 
dele says " chimnt-ys were but little known before the 
fourteenth century." 

The. following remarks by the same author are 


94 Sketches in Carbery. 

very interesting regarding the internal household 
arrangements of those substantial dwellings. " Of * 
the interior economy of these structures, M. De Le 
Boullaye Le Grouz in 1664 gives no very tempting 
description. The castles or houses of the nobility, 
he says, consist of four walls, extremely high, thatched 
with straw, but to tell the truth they are nothing 
but square towers without windows, or at least having 
such small apertures as to give no more light than 
there is in a prison. They have little furniture, and 
cover their rooms with rushes, of which they make 
their beds in summer, and of straw in winter. They 
put the rushes a foot de§p on their floors, and on 
their windows, and many of them ornament their 
ceilings with branches. Much elegance was certainly 
not the characteristic of the time, even in some of 
the great English mansions.. We are informed that 
the great hall was commonly strewed with marrow- 
bones, and full of hawk perches, hounds and other 
dogs. The walls were hung with armour, and 
weapons of war as well as the chase, and some of 
the principal chambers with rich tapestry in England 
as well as in Ireland. Stools were the substitutes 
"for chairs. A modern citizen, of small income, on 
the whole, seems to enjoy much more real comfort 
and convenience than the highest baron in the palmy 
days of feudalism." 

O'Driscoll's castle of Dunanore was of small di- 
mensions. The ivied walls and quaint, picturesque 
ruins, independent of the wildness of the surrounding 
scenery, recall at once the traditions of the neigh- 
bourhood, and the interesting records of the historic 
past. The chambers overhanging the stormy At- 
lantic are tenantless and deserted, except by the 
birds of the air ; the ancient tapestry and the orna- 

Sketches in Carbery. 95 


ments which decked the walls are replaced bv a 
luxuriant covering of the ivy green ; and the only \> 

music now which re-echoes round this crumbling 
pile is the mournful wail of the winter wind, ' the ^ 

sighing of the summer breeze, and the constant 
cadence of the Atlantic roar. 

• From the vicinity of Dunanore, we obtain a view 
of the coast and the surrounding ocean, which is one 
of surpassing beauty, when the summer sun is set- 
ting in the far west. Towards the south, as far as 
the eye can reach, the broad expanse of the Atlantic 
is stretched before our gaze, the distant horizon 
dotted here and there by some white sail, or the dark 
hull of one of those leviathan steamers which ply 
their busy trade between the Old "World and the New. 
Cape Clear is the first land which greets the Ameri- 
can tourist or the returning emigrant on his approach 
to the old country, and the last cherished spot of his 
" own dear isle " which bids adieu to the Irish peasant, 
when he parts, perhaps for ever, from his native country 

" The sailor sighs as sinks his native shore, 
And all its less'ning turrets bluely fade ; 
He climbs the mast to feast bis eyes once more, 
And busy fancy fondly lends her aid." 

From here we can observe those beautiful sunsets 
which no pen can properly describe nor pencil 
debneate, nor painter's skill pourtray : dissolving 
views and transformation scenes, how far surpassing 
in magnificence the feeble artistic efforts of man, 
sketched by the hand of nature on an etherial can- 
vas of azure blue ; clouds banked together in an 
endless variety of form, and with a richness of colour- 
ing which defies description, all the varied hues of 
the rainbow blended together with matchless perfec- 
tion, and so brilliant and brightly tinted. In the 


Sketches in Carbery. 

background the dark purple masses of the rugged 
mountains, capes, and promontories, which, by their 
sombre colours, only serve the more to display and 
set off the brilliancy and splendour of the sky over- 

"We cannot delay, however, over such sesthetic 
• pursuits, and must return again to the castle of 
Dunanore and the fortunes of Sir Fineen O'Driscoll. 
Dunanore Castle was captured, together with the 
rest of the island, on the 22nd of March, 1601, by 
Captain Roger Harvey. For these, and other ser- 
vices, he was granted a commission at the time by 
Lord Deputy Mountjoy as Governor of Carbeiy. 
By means of artillery, which Harvey planted on the 
high ground adjoining the castle, he compelled the 
garrison to surrender, and battered down the eastern 
wall of the castle. A tradition prevailed for a long 
time that Dunanore, as its name would imply, was 
a place where a golden treasure had been buried, and 
a story is current that, many years ago, in the reign 
of Queen Anne, when a garrison of soldiers was 
stationed in Cape Clear, one of the soldiers — whose 
greed for wealth was excited by the stories he had 
heard of large treasures being secreted beneath the 
foundations of the Golden Fort—proceeded to work 
with might and main to discover the hidden treasure; 
however, his labours were unrequited. Although he 
excavated the soil to the level of the sea, no hidden 
treasure ever met his anxious gaze, except the sand 
and shells of the sea. The opening in the ground 
is still pointed out where the disappointed red-coat 
commenced his fruitless labours. 

The islanders recount the following supernatural 
stories regarding Dunanore, which they firmly be- 
lieve to be haunted. On more than one occasion a 



Sketches in Carbery. 97 

mysterious vessel of beautiful proportions, and with 
gauze-like sails of snowy whiteness, has been observed 
approaching the castle, and the crew have been 
actually seen at the hour of midnight conveying 
into the castle a large cargo of golden treasure. 
They have been even heard singing and carousing 
during the night, yet no one ever had the hardihood 
to intrude upon their nocturnal revels. But the 
moment daylight has stolen o'er the scene, the phan- 
tom ship has vanished into the air, like the 

" Baseless fabric of a vision, 
And left not a rack behind," 

the crew have disappeared as if by magic, and not a 
vestige of golden store, or a relic of the banquet has 
ever remained behind to greet the anxious gaze of 
the astonished observer. 

The upper story, which these supernatural visitors 
were wont to frequent, has already fallen to decay : 
no matter what used to be left there by ordinary 
mortals during the day was sure to be removed by 
the fairies during the night, and the floor afterwards 
swept by the same "good people" with scrupulous 
neatness and care. * 

Close to the castle walls was a large ring-bolt im- 
bedded in the solid rock, to which the O'Driscolls 
used to moor their galleys. The castle promises 
before long to follow the example of the one in Lough 
Hyne, and become a fragmentary ruin. Indeed it 
seems strange how, left to its own unaided powers 
of resistance against the elements, it could have so 
long escaped destruction. 

The close of the 16th and beginning of the 17th 
century furnish us with historical details of a most 
exciting nature. The tumult of war with its disaa* 


98 Sketches in Carbevy. 

trous train of consequences extended, as we ob- 
served, even to the extreme end of Cape Clear, 
■which had enjoyed comparative repose since it was 
invaded by the Danes. In the south of Ireland 
the immense territories of the great Earl of Des- 
mond, in Kerry, Cork, "Waterford, Limerick, &c, 
amounting to 574,628 acres, had been confiscated 
to the Crown. A crowd of restless adventurers and 
greedy undertakers had settled on the ancient 
patrimony of the Fitzgeralds, who up to this period 
had exercised an almost regal sway in the south of 

A lull had taken place in the storm, which, 
however, was destined to break forth with re- 
newed violence, when the Spaniards landed in 
Kinsale, on the 23rd September, 1601. Then fol- 
lowed the final effort of the two great northern 
chieftains, O'Donnell and O'Neill, whom M'Gree 
describes as the Achilles and Ulysses of the fight. 
The memorable and important battle of Kinsale 
occurred shortly afterwards — December, 1601 — re- 
sulting in the final overthrow of the Spanish and 
Irish forces by Mountjoy and Carew. The over- 
weenino - confidence and incapacity of Don Juan 
D'Ao-uila, the Spanish leader, and the impetuous 
ardour of O'Donnell, whose counsel outweighed the 
more prudent tactics of the great O'Neill, led in a 
great measure to this disastrous defeat. At this 
period amongst the southern chieftains, who had 
joined the Spaniards and O'Neill and O'Donnell, 
the most prominent names were those of O'Sullivan, 
of Dunboy, and Sir Fineen O'Driscoll More, a 
sketch of whose career and antecedents we must 
reserve for a future chapter. 

Sketches in Carbery. 9§ 



The O'Driscoll pedigree — The aboriginal Milesian colonists of Car- 
bery — Sir Walter Coppinger — Petition against his encroachments 
by the Mayor and Burgesses of Baltimore — The Telegraph Station 
on Cape very important during the American war — The old 
Lighthouse, and magnificent sea view from there — The Signal 
Tower — Fir breogach — Lough Errul ; habits and manners of the 
people — Cape Clear, a miniature kingdom, an "Imperium in Im- 
perio" down to A. D. 1700 — Cruathan O'Karevaun (O'Driscoll), 
the celebrated giant — Agriculture of the island, &c, &c. 

The celebrated chieftain, Sir Fineen (Florence) 
O'Driscoll, who furnishes the subject of the present 
sketch, occupied a very prominent position in Irisji 
affairs during the close of the 16th century. Des- 
cended in a direct line from Ith — paternal uncle of 
Milidh, or Milesius of Spain — his ancestors had 
possessed, from a very remote period until the 12th 
century, all the extensive tract of country stretching 
along the sea coast from Kinsale harbour to the 
Kenmare river. Encroachments of hostile tribes 
and the Anglo-Norman invasion had absorbed, in 
the time of Sir Fineen, the greater portion of the 
ancestral domains ; still, however, he possessed rich 
territories in Baltimore, Cape Clear, and Sherkin, 
from which he derived a considerable income, and 
also the adjoining lands in Kilcoe, Creagh, Augha- 
down, &c. Sir Fineen had been always considered 
a most loyal subject until the time of the Spanish 
Invasion, when, in conjunction with O'Neill, O'Don- 
nell, and O'Sullivan, he revolted and delivered up 


100 Sketches in Carheri). 

his castles of Dunashead and Duunalong to the 
Spaniards. The result proved disastrous to his worldly 
interest, as not alone did he suffer severe reverses 
himself, but with him terminated the long and ancient 
pedigree of the O'Driscoll chieftains of Corca Laidhe. 

Sir Fineen was of royal descent, and one of his 
ancestors,- in the 3rd century, before the '(Christian 
Era (A. C. 222), Lughaid Mac Con, was monarch of 
all Ireland, and — if we are to believe history — a man 
of great renown and ability. From Mac-Con, accord- 
ing to Collins, were descended O'Driscoll, O'Flynn 
of "Arda,"* O'Cobthaig, O'Leary, &c, the Mac Al- 
iens of Scotland, and the Campbells, who are still 
called in the "Erse Clana" Mhic Cuin or the 
posterity of Mac Con. Strange to say, even after 
such a lapse of time — almost two thousand years — 
Mac Con is still retained in Cape Clear as the 
Christian name of some of the inhabitants, who also 
adopt the name of Kieran as a prefix to O'Driscoll, 
a fact which proves the historical connection of both 
names with the locality, and the traditionary re- 
nown of the two great stars of theX)'Driscoll tribe — 
the one a powerful monarch, the Achilles of the race, 
and the~other the patron saint of the island, Primarim 
EibemicB Sanctorum. 

In the "Annals of the Four Masters," and those of 
" Innisfallen," notices of the O'Driscolls (O'Eidrisceoil, 
which means Interpreter) are very frequent. Mac Con 
and Fineen appsar to be the favorite names amongst 
the chieftains, who seem to have been continually 
engaged in petty warfare from the earliest times, 
especially with the "Waterford people, a rivalry which 

* The Castle of Arda, situated midway between Lough Hyne 
and Baltimore was inhabited formerly by the chief of this family 

Sketches in Carbery. ' 101 

must have sprung up principally owing to the fisheries 
along the coast, and the important trade with Spain, 
which gave rise to conflicting interests. A. D. 1585, 
Sir Florence (Fineen) O'Driscoll attended a Parlia- 
ment assembled in Dublin, and there so far conformed 
to English customs as to take his .land by letter 
patent from Queen Elizabeth. The. former custom 
was that the chieftain of Corca Laidhe, when inaugu- 
rated into the chieftaincy in solemn conclave of the 
tribe, received as an emblem of authority and un- 
biassed rectitude a white rod from MacCarthyEeagh, 
Prince of Carbery , and was afterwards obeyed and styled 
as The O'Driscoll, Lord of the Countie of Collymore. 
Sir Fineen was the first to yield allegiance, and 
remained as already stated true to his professions 
until the Spanish Invasion in 1601, when he admitted 
Spaniards into his castles of Dunashead, Baltimore, 
and Dunelong, Sherkin, and received money and 
ammunition from the same source. Sir Fineen, not- 
withstanding his having joined the Spaniards, was 
shortly after pardoned, and received into favour by 
the Government, as in the " Pacata Hibernia," by 
Oarew, is mentioned in the instructions to the Earl 
of Thomond, from the Lord Deputy : " The former 
is desired to afford all kind and mild usage to those 
that are in subjection, or lately protected," including 
O'Driscoll amongst the number. 

Smith relates that, in order to ingratiate himself 
with Queen Elizabeth, O'Driscoll supplied an English 
fleet, which was becalmed off Baltimore for a con- - 
siderable time, with fresh provisions, and entertained 
all the captains and other officers at his castles with - 
princely hospitality. So lavish was his munificence 
on this occasion that he actually flooded the town- 
well wi^h wine, and threw handfuls of money into, 

102 Sketches in Carbery. 

it, to divert the company, and enrich the crew. 
From this circumstance this particular well in Bal- 
timore still retains the name of Tohar-an-arigid'(the 
■well of the money.) Indeed, it seems from all 
accounts, that Sir Eineen and his ancestors were very 
wealthy, deriving a very large income from the 
various royalties, duties, and other customs, besides 
the fisheries along the coast, an occasional raid 
on the "Waterford merchants, and a fair share of 
smuggling with Spain, a practice not uncommon in 
the days gone by. 

In a copy of the inquisition taken in Eosscarbery, 
in the year 1608, all the various lordships, royalties, 
rents, and dues are detailed, and the boundaries 
strictly defined of the country or cantred of Colly- 
more, alias called O'Driscoll's country. It contained 
65 ploughlands — 39^ on the mainland, and 25J in 
the islands, which shows how much reduced in size 
were the territories of the O'Driscolls at this period. 
The names of their castles would also indicate the 
flourishing and prosperous condition of the occupants, 
viz. — Dun-na-Sead, where the English fleet was 
entertained, which means the castle of the jewels, 
and Dun-an-ore, in Cape Clear, the golden fort. 

The Queen, on being informed of O'Driscoll's libe- 
rality to the fleet, pardoned his joining the Spaniards, 
and sent for him to Court ; but, before his arrival, 
her Majesty died, and during his absence in Eng- 
land, Smith tells us " the great part of his possessions 
were intruded into by Sir Waiter Coppinger, which 
caused this ancient family to fall into decay." "Walter 
Coppinger, of Cloughane, gent., had, on previous 
occasions, been an arbitrator in deciding a dispute 
regarding landed property between Sir Fineen and 
9, near relative of his, named Fynine Karragh. Ac- 

Sketches in Carboy. 103 

oordiug to O'Donovan, Sir Pineen let Baltimore 
and the entire of the Collymore territory to Sir 
Thomas Crooke (one of the undertakers, who planted 
a colony in Baltimore) for twenty-one years, for a 
fine of £2,000 sterling, and he thus prohahly laid 
the foundation of a forfeiture." Crooke procured a 
charter of incorporation from James L, A. D. 1613, 
and was the first M. P. for Baltimore, in which 
capacity he took a prominent position in the Parlia- 
mentary debates in Dublin at that period. 

After his death, and before the lease had expired, 
Coppinger prosecuted his title, a very doubtful one 
it must have been, and got, by reference, an order 
out of Chancery against the heirs of O'Driscoll. The 
Sovereign, or Mayor of Baltimore, the Burgesses, 
and the inhabitants, with the heir of Sir Fineen, 
petitioned Government, and stated their grievances 
at full length. Coppinger, in the meantime, after 
the justices had issued a commission to Sir "William 
Hull, Mr. Henry Becher, and Mr. Barham to 
examine into the case, made a private contract with 
Becher, and granted him a lease of tha whole. 
Another complaint followed from the Baltimore 
Sovereign. Coppinger was summoned, and confined 
to Dublin Castle for contempt of court, and Becher, 
although one of the commissioners, was considered 
equally culpable. Fortunately for Becher, how- 
ever, he had as a particular friend, the celebrated 
Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork, who gave him 
salutary advice, and also fixity of tenure, regarding 
the fisheries, with the admonition that they might 
all go peacably home and abide by. the decision.— 
(See Smith.) 

Other claimants appeared soon after in the wake 
of the Sovereigu of Baltimore, Coppinger, and 

104 Sketches in Garbery, 

Beeher, on the 20th of June, 1631 — and much more 
unscrupulous in their dealings were they than either 
Sir Eineen's ancestors, or even the undertakers of 
the 16th century — these -were the Algerine pirates, 
whose famous sack of Baltimore is so familiar to all. 
The well-known lines of Moore, slightly altered, will 
apply well to this occurrence : — 

" The colonists kicked up a deuce of a clatter, 

And quarrelled and fought about meum and tuum, 
The Aigerines came and decided the matter, 
By kindly converting it all into suum." 

•.': : 

Sir Eineen, as we mentioned already, died in 
England early in the 17th century. His wife was 
Eileen (Ellen), daughter of Sir Owen Mac Car thy 
Beagh, Prince of Carbery. Ellen, her mother, was 
daughter of Dermott O'Callaghan ; her grandmother 
was Eleanor Eitzgerald, daughter of Grerald, 8th 
Earl of Kildare. His son, Cornelius, was a captain 
in . the Archduke's country, and his grandson, who 
was an ensign in the Spanish navy, was killed 
during an engagement with the Turks 'in the Medi- 
terranean. Shortly after Sir Fineen's death the 
senior hranch of the O'Driscolls became extinct in 
Ireland, and the majority of his relatives emigrated 
to Spain, the solum natale of their ancestors. 

Another distinguished hranch of the family were 
the O'Driscolls of Castlehaven. Donogh O'Driscoll, 
who resided there, delivered up his castle to the 
Spaniards in 1601, previous to the naval engage- 
ment in the harbour. One of this family was colonel 
of a regiment in the army of James II., and Gover- 
nor of Eingroan Castle, Kinsale, which he bravely 
defended against the renowned Earl of Marlborough. 
During the attack on the castle three barrels of 

Sketches in Carbery, . 105 

powder accidentally took fire at the gate, and blew 
it up with about forty soldiers, and finally, after a 
most heroic resistance, O'Driscoll and 200 of the 
garrison being killed, the rest surrendered upon 
quarter. Abroad many scions of the race distin- 
guished themselves in a military capacity. The 
Sieur Corneille O'Driscoll during the war of the suc- 
cession was a distinguished officer in Spain, in 1707 
and 1708, and Lieut -colonel to the dragoon regi- 
-ment of the famous Count Daniel O'Mahoni. 

A very interesting account, written specially for 
the late Dr. O'Donovan, by Eickard O'Donovan, 
Esq., Cork, Clerk of the Crown, is included in the 
appendix to a work by the former, styled the "Gene- 
alogy of Corca Laidhe," to which we refer those who 
are anxious to learn all minute particulars concerning 
the O'Driscoll history and pedigree. It appears 
that the substantial though ugly-looking square 
building near the river at Oldcourt, which latter 
place derives its name from this structure, was for- 
merly called Creagh Court, and occupied by Denis 
O'Driscoll in the beginning of the 18th century. 
One of his descendants living in Charlestown, 
America, is supposed to be the senior representative 
of this family.' William Hy O'Driscoll, of Stoke, 
Plymouth, is said to be really the last lineal descen- 
dant of the senior branch of the O'Driscolls in the 
British Isles. The Mount Musick branch of the 
O'Driscolls, to whom the late Captain Alexander 
O'Driscoll belonged, so celebrated in Carbery forty 
years ago, were descended from Florence O'Driscoll 
of Eallyisland (son of Colonel Cornelius, son of 
Donoogh), who was born in 1677, and married in 
1706 the daughter of O'Donovan, &c 

Close to South Harbour on the eastern side, the 

106 Sketches in Carbery. 

telegraph station, at present a complete ruin, is a 
prominent object. During the American war be- 
tween the North and South it. was a place of con- 
siderable importance and a centre of attraction, the 
first spot in the Old World from which the news of 
the stormy events in America was telegraphed for 
the information of millions. A small steamer char- 
tered bj Government was placed at the disposal of 
the telegraph officials, and her- occasional presence in 
South Harbour was an interesting novelty never 
witnessed on previous occasions. 

"When the transatlantic steamers from New York 
approached the island, freighted with news and des- 
patches of such momentous importance, a scene of a 
most exciting nature could be witnessed near the 
beach ; rival crews of hardy islanders launching their 
boats, with incredible speed and a keen eye to busi- 
ness, and stimulated to great exertions, as a golden 
prize was in view — a sovereign being the reward on 
each occasion for the boat's crew who were first to 
reach the packet. The mails were-'thrown overboard 
in a buoyant waterproof case, picked up quickly, 
conveyed on shore, and all important telegrams with- 
out further delay, sent with lightning speed to London. 

A submarine cable connected the telegraph station 
with the wires on the mainland passing from Cape 
to Sherkin, and from the Abbey Strand on the latter 
island across the harbour to Baltimore and so on to 
Skibbereen, Cork, Dublin, and London. But now- 
a-days the shrill whistle of the steam pipe is no 
longer heard in the South Harbour — the Telegraph 
House is crumbling to decay, the submarine cable 
is a broken link of the past, and no busy official, 
seated at his solitary desk near the melancholy 
ocean in this remote little office— not much larger 

Sketches in Carbery. 107 

than the tuh of Diogenes — electrifies the world with 
his telegrams ahout the hattles, sieges, victories, and 
defeats which were heing enacted in the Great 
Eepuhlic of the West. "Othello's occupation's 

A short distance westward along the coast brings 
us to the summit of the highest cliff in the island 
(Eoile Cahill), and here, at an elevation of 480 feet 
above the sea, a lighthouse was formerly erected by 
the Corporation for Improving the Port of Dublin. 
It exhibited a bright revolving light of 21 lamps, of 
which seven became visible every two minutes. In 
clear weather the light was seen from all points out 
to sea at a distance of 28 nautical miles. Unfortu- 
nately, however, in foggy weather, owing to the 
high elevation, the light was greatly obscured by 
cloud and mist, rendering this very indispensable 
lighthouse for' the time being comparatively useless 
to ships _ approaching the land. Consequently the 
place was condemned, the lantern removed, and 
the present lighthouse — the most important on the 
Irish coast — erected, about five miles from Cape, on' 
the celebrated Fastnett Rock, which looks in the 
distance like the culminating point of a submerged 
mountain, and on which rock, in former times, many 
a shipwreck took place. 

The old lighthouse was constructed with great 
care, and no expense appears to have been spared : 
the building materials were solely stone and iron. 
The floors and spiral staircase are composed of granite 
brought specially from Dublin. The pyramidal and 
circular blocks of granite in each floor are so care- 
fully and evenly adjusted, as to resemble a Mosaic 
pavement. Iron girders, and stanchions support, and 
give wonderful strength to the walls and lofts. On, 


108 Sketches in Carbery. 

the lower story are rents visible in the walls caused 
bj lightning. 

Having reached the upper end of the staircase, 
we ascend through a trap-door to the flat roof or plat- 
form, which formerly supported the lantern, before 
it was removed to the Fastnett Lighthouse. Here, 
elevated at a height of nearly 500 feet above the sea 
level, we obtain a panoramic view of land and ocean 
which is truly magnificent and sublime, when there 
is no haze on the sea or clouds in the sky to mar 
the beauty of the scene. 

I have observed it on a beautiful day in the 
autumn : not a sound could be heard, but the rippling 
of the tide against the base of the cliffs ; the ocean,. 
far as the eye could reach, calm, without a wave, 
and shining like a mirror ; the bright azure of the 
sky overhead undimmed by a single cloud. To the 
south the Fastnett (Carrigeena), a solitary-looking 
rock, jutting above the surface of the sea, crowned 
on its pinnacle by the lighthouse, which in the 
distance resembles a "round tower of other days;" 
the sombre colours of the rock relieved by the re- 
flected light of the sun, playing around its circum- 
ference like a silver circle in the waters, a dark picture 
in a beauteous frame. 

Inland the scenery is wild and picturesque. In 
the far west we descry the Kerry mountains — the 
famous Mangerton, and the serried outlines of 
Magillicuddy's .Reeks, and the bold, bluff promon- 
tories which, stretching far away to the south-west, 
brave the furies of the Atlantic, To the east we 
observe the Galley Head, with its nearly-finished 
lighthouse, a welcome object in the future will it 
prove to the " toilers of the deep." When the sun 
i§ setting behind the mountains the beauteous tint^s. 

Sketches in Cafbery-. 109 

of" the sky " variurn et mutabile semper," rivalling 
those of the rainbow — 

" Brought forth in purple, 
Cradled in vermillion," 

produce an effect rarely surpassed by any region of 
the earth. 

A Signal Tower was erected close to where the 
lighthouse stands immediately after the arrival of 
the French in Ban try Bay. In appearance it pre- 
sents the character of a fortress, and was evidently 
intended, judging from its architecture, to serve for 
military purposes, as well as for signalling. Shortly 
after its erection a violent storm occurred, and owing 
to its exposed situation, the tower was rocked and 
shaken so much by the wind, that the lieutenant in 
command and his little garrison were tempted 
strongly to desert the building for fear of being 
buried under the ruins. In connection with the 
Signal Tower I must refer to the Fir Bregach 
(False men, An g lice). These were long, upright 
stones, which were firmly imbedded in the ground, 
and occupied a prominent position at the south-west 
end of the island, close to the high cliffs which over- 
hang the sea. In order to scare away any hostile 
force, which might have been tempted to invade the 
island, the very ingenious "ruse de guerre" was 
adopted of clothing these inanimate bodies, each 
with a suit of scarlet uniform, so that when observed 
from the sea they might be mistaken for a company of 
soldiers on the alert. They were placed in a position 
which they have maintained undisturbed for the last 
eighty years, having been planted about the same 
time the Signal Tower was erected. There can be 
no doubt but the "Fir Bregach," although they 


116 Sketches in Carbenj. 

might not be very active in repelling an invasion, 
have proved most faithful sentries, so far as "not 
abandoning their post. 

There are some fresh-water lakes in the south-west 
end of the island, and one of them, in particular, is 
deserving of notice ; it is called Lough Erral, and is 
nearly a mile in circumference. Its surrounding 
shores are barren, and as devoid of vegetation as its 
waters are of fish, reminding us somewhat of — 

" That lake whose gloomy shore 
Skylark never warbles o'er." 

The water possesses cleansing properties to a re- 
markable degree ; this is owing to tbe very large 
quantity of subcarbonate of soda which it holds in 
solution, as proved by analysis made as far back as 
1775, by Dr. Rutty, of Dublin, an eminent chemist 
of that period. The saponaceous qualities of the 
water are so strong that if a cask, in which oil has 
been kept, is placed in the lake for a few days, 
the cask, when taken out, is perfectly clean, and free 
from all traces of oil. The islanders formerly, when 
flax used to be grown on the island, extensively uti- 
lized the water of Lough Erral for purifying and 
whitening their linen yarns, which thereby acquired 
a very perfect quality and superior character. The 
coarse friezes which they also manufactured were 
submitted to a similar cleansing process. Townsend, 
in his " Statistical Survey of the County Cork," de- 
scribing the rude process of tucking, which the female 
portion of the community were obliged to adopt, 
there being no tucking-mill on the island, as there 
is no stream capable of turning a wheel, says : — 
" The business of the field or the fishery engrossing 
the attention of the men, the operation of tucking 

Sketches m Carberi/. ill 

has devolved on their fair associates, who perform it 
in the following manner: Upon a square hurdle, 
to keep the cloth from the dirt of the ground, eight 
women take their seats, four opposed to four, at such 
a distance as that the extended legs of one set just 
reach the drawn up feet of the other. The frieze 
placed between is pushed alternately by each party 
with as much force as they can exert against the 
feet of the other until, by frequent repetition of this 
laborious process, the piece is sufficiently tucked." 

The sheep on Cape were formerly a peculiar variety, 
small in size, the flesh very delicate in flavour ; they 
had long, depending, twisted horns ; the wool was 
exceedingly fine, a fact attributed to the nature of 
the pasturage near the sea. The houses, or rather 
cabins, have the straw thatching, which is roughly 
laid on, eovered with an interwoven network of straw 
ropes (soogauns), tightly drawn across. To the free 
ends which hang over the eaves, either large stones 
are attached, or they are twisted securely around 
bolts, firmly imbedded in the walls. This contrivance 
is absolutely necessary to prevent the roofs being 
blown away by the fierce gales which prevail during 
the winter months. 

As the soil, except on the north side of the island, 
is poor, shallow, and unproductive, covered with 
heath and furze and stone walls in abundance, the 
hardy natives, in order to procure a livelihood, must 
depend in a great measure on the prosperity of the 
fisheries and the success of their pilotage. They 
cannot now, as in the good old times, supplement 
their ordinary mode of subsistence by a little 
smuggling on the sly, the landing of an occasional 
contraband cargo, and the appropriation of the stray 
waifs of the ocean, the Flotsam and Jetsam of the 

\\2 Sketches in Carhery, 

deep, which, either attracted their attention out to 
sea or -were cast up on the heach from some ship- 
wrecked vessel. However, if such was the general 
custom in former times, no men ought to he hetter 
excused for having followed the example of their 
neighbours than the poor islanders, so little Messed 
with the gifts of fortune. The soil on the north side 
of the island is fertile and productive, and good 
crops of potatoes, oats, and harley are raised annually, 
the land "being well manured with seaweed and 
sand, and even sometimes, as a substitute for guano, 
they top-dress the potato gardens with layers of 
mussels — a shell-fish abundant along the coast. 

On the south side, except the little patches between 
the rocks, the land, owing to its exposed position, is 
barren in its nature, and raises little except crops of 
stones acres of heath and furze, &c. The inhabi- 
tants are very industrious, and are so attached to 
their island home, that Lawson remarks, "they con- 
sider it the first gem of the sea," notwithstanding, 
as he says in another place, "the surveillance of 
coastguards and revenue officers, who neither allow 

them to traffic with homeward bound vessels, as in 

them to tramc WlUi uumewaiu. uuuuu vessels, as in 


the days of their forefathers, nor to hold intercourse 
with contraband traders from the coasts of France 
and Holland, nor to manufacture their own whiskey." 
He also naively states : " On the island is a Roman 
Catholic chapel, having a resident incumbent, and, 
certainly, this worthy man must be the most extra- 
ordinary of mortals if he is content with his lot." 

Amongst the fauna of the island, rabbits are the 
most abundant, as they literally swarm over the 
south-west side. The peculiar horned sheep, now 
almost extinct, and a small breed of cattle, were 
formerly numerous on the" island. There are no 


Sketches in Carbery. 113 

hares to be seen, or even frogs. Near the north end 
of the island, a pillar-stone (Grallaun) may he ob- 
served, standing as a prominent object, about four 
feet high. In the centre there is a circular aperture ; 
there is an ancient tradition connected ■with it. In 
former times this was a trysting-stone where lovers 
met to plight their troth, and as no jeweller flourished 
on the island, and engagement rings were not to be 
obtained, they adopted the custom of plighting their 
troth by shaking hands through the aperture. The 
mutual vows of fidelity made on such occasions were 
scrupulously observed. A certain odour of sanctity 
was attached to the Gallaun as being a venerable relic 
connected in some way or another with the worship 
of the Druids. The custom, like many others, s ich 
as bonfires, &c , was tinged with a colouring of a 
pagan age. The inhabitants at present, however, 
are too enlightened to follow in the footsteps of their 
ancestors so far as the pillar-stone and the ancient 
rite attached are concerned. 

The natives of Cape Clear are distinct in a great 
measure from the inhabitants of the mainland ; they 
have remained from time immemorial as a separate 
colony, always intermarrying amongst themselves; 
so that we must regard them as amongst the most 
typical specimens at the present day of the old 
Milesian race. The name of nearly all the islanders is 
O'Driscollor Cadogan, the latter being only a sobriquet 
for the former. Baltimore and Cape were originally 
the stronghold of this family, the principal chieftain, 
O'Driscoll More, residing in Baltimore. There can 
be no doubt but that they were the aboriginal race 
residing along the sea-coast of Carbery. The isolated 
position of the island, and its difficulty of approach, 
have kept the population in a comparatively antique 


114 Sketches in Garbery. 

state and distinct condition during the lapse of cen- 
turies, so far as nationality and descent. Irish is 
still the language spoken by nearly all. In features 
and complexion they bear a strong resemblance to 
the Spanish race in the Basque provinces and Gal- 
licia in the north of Spain, from which provinces, 
their progenitors migrated to Carbery, and with 
which country they always preserved a close com- 
munication down to the 17th century. 

Until the year 1710 Cape was a sort of established 
monarchy, an " Imperium in Imperio," and an O'Dris- 
coll — the head of the clan — was always styled "King 
of the Island." They had a code of laws handed 
down by tradition from father to son, and as strictly 
obeyed and rigorously administered as if they had 
been drawn up by a Solon or Justinian. The 
majority have now become obsolete, not only in 
practice, but even in name. The general punish- 
ment was by fine, unless some grave offence was 
committed, and then the delinquent was banished 
for ever to the mainland, which was looked upon as 
a sentence worse even than death. 

The climate is remarkably healthy, not more so 
in the world, as evidenced by the longevity of the 
inhabitants, their stalwart frames, healthy appear- 
ance, trivial mortality, and freedom from disease. 
They are a quiet, peaceable, and industrious people, 
and possess greater gravity of manner, more ponde- 
rous bodies, and are built in a larger mould than the 1 
more vivacious and excitable race residing on the 
mainland. Some of the O'Driscolls were men of 
wonderful stature. 

A celebrated giant lived here about a century ago. 
He was named Cruathur O'Careavaun (Cornelius 
O'Driscoll). He was eight feet high, stout in 

Sketches in Garbery. 115 

proportion, and a man of incredible strength. 
Many strange stories are related about him 
amongst others, on an occasion when a whole 
ship's company in Cork harbour failed to weigh 
a _ ship's anchor, even with the assistance of a 
windlass, the giant, unaided, by the strength 
of his arms, raised it easily, to the great amaze- 
ment of the spectators. (Cr eclat Judaeits Appella !) 
A short time before his death, he retired, in hermit 
style, to Dunanore Castle, where he died. His 
shin bone used to be exhibited as a curiosity, but 
is bone-dust now. Some of his grandchildren still 
live on the island; and many of the natives, 
even at present, by their large stature and great 
strength of body, uphold the credit and tradition 
of their ancestors having been a race of giants 
such as we never witness in this degenerate age. 

The grave where the_ giant was buried is still 
pointed out near Trakeiran, within the precincts 
of Kilkieran burial ground. It is about 8| feet 
long, with a rude uninscribed headstone. Popular 
tradition, and the exceptionally large dimensions of 
the grave identify the locality. 

A coastguard station was formerly established 
close to South Harbour, but it has not been occu- 
pied for many years. 

116 Sketches in Garbery, 




The Steams, Lough Hyne — The rapids, lake, surrounding moun- 
tains, said by geologists to be the result of volcanic action — Scenery 
in the neighbourhood — Poem on Lough Hyne — Legend about the 
old castle — Labhra Longseach — Bill Barrett's midnight Visit in 
search of the golden treasure, hidden beneath the castle — Saint 
Bridget's chapel and well — Pillar stone and sculptured cross — 
Story connected with them — View from the adjoining eminence. 

To the west of Hare Island, formerly called Innis- 
driscoll, lie the Skeams (islands of St. Keam), which 
are close to the entrance of Whitehall or Rincolisky 
bay. There are two islands of this name, the western 
one being the smaller of the two. Situated upon it 
were the ruins of an ancient chapel, erected in honour 
and to the memory of St. Keam, who is said to have 
lived in the 5th century. This St. Keam was related 
to St. Kieran, the patron saint of Cape. Here, in 
former times, numerous interments used to be 
made, persons on the mainland bringing the remains 
of their deceased relatives to the island that they 
might be buried in the sacred precincts of the old 
chapel, over which the memory of St. Keam had 
thrown so great a halo. A few years ago, by the 
undermining action of the sea, a portion of the cliff, 
near the site of the old chapel, was detached from 
the mainland, and the soil being broken up to a con- 
siderable depth at the same time, exposed to view 
numerous skulls and other bones of persons, the 
period of whose interment is unknown. 

Between Baltimore and Castlehaven, about four . ,. 

Sketches in Carter y. 117 

miles to the west of the latter place, is situated one 
of the most beautiful inlets of the sea along our 
coast, Lough Hyne, which, from the singularity of its 
formation, and the isolated picturesqueness of its 
scenery, .has always - excited the admiration and 
wonder of visitors and tourists. Approaching Lough 
Hyne from the sea, we first of all pass through a nar- 
row creek, hemmed in on either side by craggy cliffs, 
whose barren sides are almost totally destitute of 
vegetation. This creek expands slightly close to its 
entrance into the Lough, so as to form a small bay 
called Barlogue, at the west side, near which on the 
rising ground is situated the pretty, snug, and neat 
little coastguard station of Barlogue.* The sandy 
bottom of this creek, which is covered with different 
specimens of seaweed, in former years produced beds 
of diminutive oysters, with semi-transparent shells, 
and fish within, so delicate and insinuating in its 
flavour as to delight the palates of the greatest epi- 
cures that ever lived since the days of Lucullus. I 
am sorry to say that these welcome tenants have 
almost entirely deserted their former abodes, for 
reasons best known to themselves, and are rarely 
seen now-a-days. 

To observe the narrow strait which joins Lough 
Hyne to the sea to advantage, the visitor should pass 
through it in a boat on a fine moonlight evening, 
when he may imagine that he is rowing through a 
chain o£«mall lakes, the channel alternately widening 
and contracting, and the high, rocky, and desolate- 
looking cliffs on either side being reflected in the 
water — the whole producing a much more agreeable 

* This coastguard station was remoTed a few yaars ago to a 
neighbouring bay called Ballyally, or Tra le Mo, close to Lough 
Hyne — a solitary and secluded spot. 

118 Sketches in Carbenj. 

effect than when seen by daylight. Where the 
waters of the creek join those of the lake, is a narrow 
entrance, through which, at the ebb-tide, the waters 
of the lake rush at considerable speed, boiling, 
bounding, and bubbling, against a stony, shelving 
bottom, and forming a sort of waterfall, famiKarly 
known as " the Eapids," over which, at full tide, the 
water is comparatively still, being then on a level 
with tbat of the lake. One of the chief amusements 
for the visitors toLougb Hyne is the shooting of the 
Eapids at the ebb tide. This is accompHshed in a 
strong boat, steered by an oar. Having approached 
the mouth of the lake, the boat is suddenly whisked 
into the rushing tide, and makes its descent into the 
smoother waters of the creek at railway speed, caus- 
ing the occupants much the same sensation as a novice 
in horse-riding experiences when going over a high 
jump on a spirited steed. "Woe betide the unlucky 
sight-seers, especially if they be of the fairer sex, 
should the boat come " broadside on," as sailors term 
it, during her trip down the Eapids, as she would 
be, most probably, capsized, or swamped, and all her 
valuable cargo left floundering in the waves. There 
is no fear for them, however, as long as they trust the 
guidance of their boat to the steady hand and keen 
eye of the illustrious Bill Barrett, the most trust- 
worthy and experienced boatman along the coast. 

"We must now enter the Lough itself, and make a 
few remarks on that most interesting locality. If 
we are to believe geologists, the planet we now 
inhabit, before it was fitted for the abode of man- 
kind and assumed its present condition, was subjected, 
on a grand and extensive scale, to subterranean con- 
vulsions and volcanic eruptions, such as we witness 
in a minor degree at the present time in the vol- 

Sketches in Carbery. 1,19 

canoes of Vesuvius and those along the western 
coast of South America. Earthquakes have also 
been, at all periods, prevalent along the American 
coast, especially within the last three years, when 
an earthquake unparalleled in modern or even 
ancient times devastated the greater part of Peru 
and Ecuador, destroying thousands of lives, annihi- 
lating millions of property, levelling to the dust 
ancient and extensive cities. More recently still, 
San Francisco has been visited by some severe shocks 
of earthquake, and even our own Emerald Isle has 
been reported to have vibrated slightly under the 
effects of one. 

However, to return to our subject, after this 
wandering excursion : it is supposed by geologists 
that Lough Hyne owed its existence to one of these 
subterranean commotions, or volcanic eruptions, and 
the reasons assigned are the following, viz. — that it 
would first of all be highly improbable so deep a 
bed (25 to 30 fathoms in some places) could be ex- 
cavated by the streams which enter the lake, or that 
the action of the sea in so completely land-locked a 
place, would be sufficient to accomplish such a state 
of things. The narrow communication with the sea, 
and the high, precipitous land surrounding the Lough, 
some of which land is of a volcanic formation, are 
all in favour of this theory, viz., that in former ages, 
some antediluvian period or other, I dare say; what 
now forms the bottom of the lake was elevated ground, 
and that this suddenly subsided during an earth- 
quake, the sea at the same time running in through 
a narrow chasm, which opened out between the rocks 
towards the coast, filled up the vacuum so formed, and 
called into existence a lake which we now call Lough 
Hyne (Irish "Loch-ffloimhmf&eeplsikB). — Joyce. 


120 Sketches in Carlery. 

One of the most striking features in the scenery 
about Lough Hyne is the high and solitary mountain, 
which rises close to the water's edge at the west side 
of the lake. This mountain is called in Irish " Knock 
Camach," pronounced couma (the crooked hill), or, 
more familiarly, The Soldier's Hill. It is related 
that, a good many years ago, an adventurous soldier 
endeavoured to rob a hawk's nest, situated on a high, 
projecting rock on the summit of the mountain, and 
that, having missed his footing, he fell down the 
precipice and was killed, and thus originated the 
name of The Soldier's Hill. The best view of Lough 
Hyne may be obtained from Knock Caima at its south 
side. The visitor passes along a winding path, the 
mountains at either side being thickly wooded, 
and after a short and easy ascent comes to a 
place called "The Look-out," which consists of a 
projecting mound from the hill side, covered with 
a verdant sod, on which a person can recline at 

From this "Look-out" the lover of scenery obtains 
a view, which even though limited in extent, is un- 
surpassed in the opinions of many by any portion 
of the far-famed Lakes of Killarney. Beneath lies 
the Lough, which is circular in shape, and about 
two miles in circumference. Near its mouth is situ- 
ated a small island, 'close to the eastern shore, on 
which, until recently, the ruined walls of an old 
castle stood. It belonged to the O'Driscolls, and 
was intended to command and protect the entrance 
into the lake from the sea. It is about six years ago 
since the walls fell down, and at present only the foun- 
dation of this old castle is to be seen. Between the 
island and the western shore the lake in some places 
has been ascertained to be 30 fathoms in depth. Smith 

St. ^^±^z*.- 

Sketches in Carter y. l2l 

says that seals breed in the lake, but I believe this 
is not an established fact. 

To a person observing the lake from " The Look- 
out" there does not appear to be any communication 
■with the sea, as the island intercepts the view of the 
entrance. A neck of land stretching across from 
Barlogue towards the mainland at the opposite side, 
bounds Lough Ine on the south, and separates it 
from the sea, which can be observed distinctly to a 
considerable extent from Knock Caima. It is this cir- 
cumstance which makes the scenery so picturesquely 
beautiful and singular, for whilst we gaze upon the 
placid waters of the quiet Lough, scarcely rippled 
by a breeze, and admire the surrounding hills and 
rocks, which seem fashioned by nature to please 
the eye, we at the same time get a view of the wide 
Atlantic in the foreground, which perhaps is 
covered with crested waves, roaring and dashing 
themselves into mist and spray against the neigh- 
bouring cliffs. 

It is well worth the toil to ascend Knock Caima 
to its summit, for there we get a very extensive view 
of the sea coast stretching away towards the Mizen 
Head, which well repays our trouble in climbing 
the mountain's side. We see " Carbery's Hundred 
Isles" scattered along the coast, and in the distance, 
if the weather be fine and the atmosphere clear, we 
can observe — indistinctly, of course — the mountains 
of Kerry. The real beauty of the entire view 
should be seen and not described, in order to appre- 
ciate it as it deserves. 

Intimately connected with the name of Lough Ine 
is the memory of a much- esteemed and deservedly- 
respected inhabitant of Skibbereen, the late D. 
M'Carthy, Esq., of Grlencurragh, who built a most 
picturesquely-situated and graceful-looking villa 

122 Sketches in Carhery. 

near the lake, where lie lived for many years, and 
contributed greatly— so far as the art of man can 
contribute by planting, building, &c. — to increase 
the beauties of this charming spot. I cannot better 
conclude the present article, than by introducing a 
poem, written about twenty years ago, anonymously, 
by a visitor to Lough Ine,* who, in the choicest and 
most expressive language, paid the following very 
graceful tribute to the romantic beauty of this most 
interesting locality : — 

lough ISE. 

(A beautiful salt-^ater lake in the county of Cork, near Baltimore.) 

I know a lake where the cool waves break, 

And softly fall on the silver sand ; 
And no steps intrude on that solitude, 

And no voice, save mine, disturbs the strand. 

And a mountain bold, like a giant of old, 

Turned to stone by some magic spell, 
TJprears in might his misty height, 

And his craggy sides are wooded well. 

In the midst doth smile a little isle, 

And its verdure shames the emerald's green ; 

On its grassy side, in ruined pride, 
A castle of old is darkling seen. 

On its lofty crest the wild bird's nest, 

In its halls the sheep good shelter find ; 
And the ivy shades where a hundred blades 

Were hung when the owner in sleep reclined. 

That chieftain of old, could he now behold 

His lordly tower a shepherd's pen, 
His corse, ^ng dead, from its narrow bed 
- With shame and anger would rise again. 

'Tis sweet to gaze when the sun's bright rays 
Are cooling themselves in the trembling wave — 

But 'tis sweeter far when the evening star 
Shines like a tear at friendship's grave. 

* The real name cf the writer was FitzJames O'Brien, a solicitor, 
and native of the citv of Cork. 

Sketches in Oarbery. 123 

There the hollow shells, through their wreathed cells, 

Make music on the lonely shore, 
As the summer breeze, through the distant trees, 

Murmurs in fragrant breathings o'er. 

And the sea-weed shines like the hidden mines 

Of the fairy cities beneath the sea ; 
And the wave- washed stones are bright as the thrones 

Of the ancient kings of Araby. 

If it were my lot in that fairy spot 

To live for ever and dream 'twere mine, 

Courts might woo and kings pursue, 
Ere I would leave thee, loved Lough Ine. 

The following interesting legend is related con- 
cerning Lough Hyne, -which I daresay has been 
often told in connection with other castles through- 
out Ireland. The narrator, Bill Barrett, the "genius 
loci" of Lough Hyne, boldly, however, asserts that 
this is the true and original seat where the hero of 
the tale resided, and I will accordingly relate as 
literally as possible his account of that famous hero 
of romance in Irish history, known as "Labhra 

In the olden times a celebrated king, named 
Labhra Loingseach lived in Lough Hyne Castle, or 
some other building occupying the same site; he was 
a man of incredible strength, and ruled the sur- 
rounding country with despotic sway. He possessed 
some of the attributes which pagan writers confer 
upon Pan, and to complete his character, he had two 
ears of an ass on his head, like the celebrated Midas, 
king of Phrygia, which blemish the wicked old 
tyrant carefully concealed from the knowledge of his 
subjects, as he was very vain of his personal appear- 
ance, and greatly devoted to the fair sex. 

It was Labhra's custom to have himself shaved 
once a week, and he compensated the barber on each 

124 Sketches in Carhery. 

occasion by hanging him to a tree outside the castle, 
for fear he might, at an unguarded moment, divulge 
the secret about the ass's ears. On one occasion, 
however, the last of the barbers requested as a dying 
favour, before he was executed, that he might have 
a final interview with his mother. The request being 
granted, by way of revenge he whispered sotto 
voce to the ground (and very probably to his mother 
also) that Labhra had the ears of an ass. 

The barber was hanged, but in due course of time 
a reed grew over the spot where the mysterious 
whisper was uttered. A passer-by on some occasion 
or other, one who had a musical taste, happened to 
cut the reed, and made a " jocaun " (a sort of penny 
whistle) of it : he essayed a tune upon the jocaun, 
but the only tune that it could play was — 

" Dha cluais assail ar Labhra Loinseach." 
" Two ears of an ass on Labhra Loinseach." 

Immediately all the reeds in the lake, the trees in 
the woods, and even the stones in the fields, joined 
in one and the same universal chorus, and the lam- 
pooned Labhra was so overwhelmed with shame and 
confusion that he was obliged to fly the country, 
and was last observed driving a splendid carriage 
and four horses, with golden shoes and gold mounted 
harness, over the surface of the water near Barlogue ; 
hence the name of the latter place (the top of the 

In a remote corner of the castle, under a flag- 
stone, a crock of gold is supposed to have been buried 
deep in the ground at some remote period : such is 
the tradition amongst the peasantry. Our informant, 
Bill Barrett, touchingly describes how, influenced by 
the desire of suddenly amassing a fortune, and with 

Sketches in Carbery. 125 

full belief in the stories handed down from the old 
times, he approached the spot at midnight upon a 
certain occasion, armed with a spade and shovel. 

It was a fine moonlight night. As he came near 
the exact locality where the golden store lay hidden, 
he observed sitting quietly on the flagstone a large 
black cat, with a very sinister expression of coun- 
tenance, mewing and spitting in a most spiteful 
manner. Suddenly, to his surprise and horror, the 
cat was metamorphsed into a black dog as big as a 
cow, and every bark he gave made the waters of the 
lake terribly agitated and the surrounding moun- 
tains re-echo with a dismal sound, while at the 
same time Bill's body shook with terror, and, horror- 
stricken, he was riveted to the spot. Out of the 
dog's mouth and eyes issued long streams of un- 
earthly fire, and the very walls of the castle vibrated 
and tottered as if they would bury poor adventurous 
Bill under the ruins. Like .ZEneas, in the "iEneid," 
he might have said, " Obstupui steteruntque comae 
et vox faucibus hsesit." 

Suddenly the dog bounded at one jump from the 
castle into the lake, and the waves he raised were so 
high that they almost reached the sky, and nearly 
drowned the treasure-seeker. 

Bill, as soon as he recovered from the " wakeness" 
that came over him, immediately cut his stick, and 
returned home " a wiser but a sadder man," almost 
dead with fright : he fell sick, and did not recover 
from the effects of his midnight rambles for three 
months ; and all the wealth of the world, he says, 
would not induce him to revisit the castle at midnight. 
He still verily believes that the black cat was the 
departed spirit of Labhra Longseach, guarding the 
hidden treasure, and that the same cat can only be 


126 Sketches in Carberu. 

shot by a steel bullet of some undiscovered shape ; 
on which occasion there will be free access to the 
crock of gold. He also asserts (a strange coinci- 
dence) that shortly after the above-mentioned adven- 
ture the castle walls fell down, owing to the severe, 
shaking they got from the jump of the dog into the 

In the foregoing legend we can clearly trace the 
great similarity between the stories related of Labhfa 
Longseagh, by Keating and others, including Bill 
Barrett, and that of Midas, king of Phrygia, in 
works on heathen mythology, both as regards the 
golden treasures, and the ass's ears. It would 
seem as if the fabulous anecdote about Midas had 
been engrafted on the stock of Irish legendary lore, 
so close is the affinity between both ; the name of 
the Irish hero of romance, Labhra, being merely 
substituted for the Asiatic king ; all the other cir- 
cumstances being nearly similar in their details — 

" Mutate nomine de te fabula narratur." 

It is not at all improbable that the Milesians or 
Phoenicians originally brought the legend with them 
from Asia Minor into Ireland, where it became 
adopted and naturalised — hence the permanence of 
the tradition related by the peasantry of the south, 
very few of whom were acquainted with the story of 
Midas and the ass's ears. 

The readers of ancient classics are familiar with 
the amusing and interesting fable about Midas, king 
of Phrygia, in Asia Minor, how Bacchus for his 
hospitality to Silenus granted him his wish that 
everything he touched should be converted into 
gold. How afterwards his imprudent avarice was 
nearly the cause of starving him to death, and Bac- 

Sketches in Carbery. 127 

chus, taking pity on him, allowed Midas to wash him- 
self in the river Pactolus, whose sands were turned 
into gold, and the spell was hroken. Subsequently the 
foolish Midas adjudged Pan to be a superior musician 
to Apollo, whereupon the latter was so indignant, 
that he changed his ears into those of an ass, to show 
his stupidity and ignorance of true melody. The 
story further relates how one of Midas's domestics, 
who used to cut his hair, whispered to a hole in the 
ground which he had dug that the king had the 
ears of an ass. At the completion of a year a number 
of reeds grew over the spot where the whisper had 
been made, " Sylvse habent aures." The reeds when 
agitated by the wind revealed the secret, and uttered 
the same sounds as that which had been buried, 
" sub auras," viz., that Midas most undoubtedly had 
the ears of an ass. In " Ovid's Metamorphoses," 
Fab. v., Book si., the story of Midas is very graphi- 
cally and beautifully told. 

On the south-west side of the lake, close to the 
Rapids, and in a secluded and sequestered nook, are 
the ruins of a small chapel called (Teampleen 
Breeda) dedicated to St. Brigid. It has all the 
appearances of being very ancient ; the walls are of 
rough, unhewn stone, placed together without the 
use of mortar, whilst the miniature window of the 
chancel is a mere loophole. The dimensions are not 
more than 15 to 20 feet long, by 8 feet wide, and 
the enclosed area of the aisle is covered with rude 
headstones and flags, under which the mortal re- 
mains of a past generation lie interred. There is no 
road or pathway leading to the chapel, and the tra- 
dition is that the congregation came or stole to their 
devotions in boats up the creek from the neighbour- 
ing places, perhaps at times with fear and trembling. 

128 Sketches in Garbery. 

We must presume that not a tithe of them could be 
accommodated within the walls. 

Close to the little chapel, on a verdant knoll, may 
be seen a broken pillar-stone, supported between two 
headstones, with an ancient cross sculptured on it 
near the base. The tradition is that this pillar-stone 
was always looked upon by the people as a relic of 
sanctity, some saintly*person being buried near the . 
spot, or having engraved the cross upon the stone. 
However, on some distant occasion, an adventurous 
and fool-hardy coastguardsman determined to put 
the matter to the test ; so he had the Gothic audacity 
' to remove the relic to ..his own house during the 
night ; next morning, however, it was in its original 
site again. Nothing daunted he again removed it, 
and dropped it into the centre of the lake ; the fol- 
lowing day the stone again resumed its former situa- 
tion near the chapel. Enraged beyond measure, he 
vowed its destruction, and taking a sledge-hammer 
with him he made a most savage attack upon the 
unoffending object of his wrath; but, as "Bill 
Barrett" asserts in the most positive terms, although 
he broke the pillar stone in two, if he was hammer- 
ing away until the. day of judgment he could not 
injure that portion of the stone on which the cross 
was sculptured. The coastguardman immediately 
left the country, and was shortly after this occurrence 
drowned. Such is the popular version of the story 
in the neighbourhood of Lough Hyne. 

A short but steep ascent from Teampleen- 
Breeda brings us to Tobar-Breeda, St. Brigid's 
"Well — a small hollow in the solid rock — at the 
margin of which may be observed an impression in 
the rock said to be caused by St. Brigid's knees ; 
which impression was kept up by the fact of nume- 

Sketches in Garbery. ■ 129 

rous devotees selecting the place as a suitable locality 
for prayer. This well in former times was much 
frequented on May Eve by pilgrims. From a neigh- 
bouring elevation we obtain a very charming view 
of Lough Hyne, calmly reposing in its sheltered 
bed, at the foot of the bold and picturesque Knock- 
Couma, and fthe solitary nook, where the ruins of 
the chapel are almost concealed from view by tangled 
briars and waving ferns; the creek, winding its un- 
dulating course to the sea, is on our right hand, 
whilst over the summit of an adjoining cliff we can 
get a bird's-eye view of the quaint-looking " Stags," 
surrounded by the deep and dark blue ocean. 


130 Sketches in Curler y. 


Coast line from Lough Hyne to Castlehaven — Tithe riots — Nayal 
engagement in Castletownsend Harbour, between the Spanish 
forces under Don Pedro de Zuibar and the English under 
Admiral Levison, on the 6th December, 1601 — Battle of Kinsale — 
Departure of O'Donnell from Castlehaven for Spain — Mr. Froude's 
discovery about the real cause of O'Donnell's death — Interesting 
relic of the O'Donnells in the Jtoyal Irish Academy — Bemarkable 
Cathair and ruins of Clochan on Knockdromma Hill, near Castle- 
townsend — Beautiful view from it, &c. 

From Lough. Hyne to Castlehaven the coast line 
presents a great variety of scenery, and a ride along 
the coast hetween both places affords some very fine 
sea views. The land is chiefly rocky and barren, 
interspersed here and there with verdant cultivated 
patches, the most prominent object being the promon- 
tory of Toe-head. Numerous small bays indent the 
land, and give a picturesque character to scenery 
which would be otherwise extremely wild. "We 
notice the following inlets starting from Lough 
Hyne : — Tralispeen (the smooth strand), Tragomina 
(the strand of the oak tree), formerly called Fennis- 
cove, Toe-head Bay, which runs in and forms Trale- 
goch. Here occurred the celebrated "Tithe Eiots" 
in 1823, in which a Mr. Morrit prominently figured, 
and which were greatly instrumental in causing the 
abolition of that system of taxation throughout Ire- 
land. The immediate cause of "The Eiots" was 
the distraining of five sheep for a tithe of five shil- 
lings, which were bought afterwards by Mr Morrit 
under the distress for a shilling each. (See Moore's 

Sketches in Carbery. 131 

"Memoirs of Captain Bock") A collision took 
place between* the police and people, attended with 
loss of life on both sides. After passing the bold 
rocky, and precipitous promontory of Toe-head, we 
come to Sandycove, formerly called Torbay, near 
which is Traghcarta, aDd finally we enter the 
harbour of Castlehaven, which nest commands our 
particular attention. 

Castlehaven was anciently called Grlanbarrahane, 
after St. Barrahane,* who was the patron saint of 
- the place, and the ruins of the chapel, which was 
dedicated to him, may still be observed not far from 
the ancient castle, on the west side of the harbour 
and situated near a deep, rocky glen, which in con- 
junction with the name of the saint, has given origin 
to the name Grlenbarrahane. As far back as the 
beginning of the 17th century we find it was styled 
Cuan-an-Chaislean by the Irish, Castlehaven by the 
English, and Porto Costello by the Spanish, all 
which terms have the same signification. We will 
imagine ourselves for a moment carried back to the 
early years of the 17th century, a period when the 
usually quiet waters of Castlehaven were the scene 
of _ busy strife and contention, and we will at once 
proceed to discuss the interesting and stirrin°- events 
which made Castlehaven a memorable and important 
place even at that remote time. 

Those who are conversant with Irish History will 
remember that in the year 1601, in the time of 
Queen Elizabeth, when Tyrone and O'Donnell in 
the north, and the Earl of Desmond in the south 
had raised the standard of revolt, a large force of 

* In some ancient Irish manuscripts St. Barrahane is mentioned 
as a prophet, one of his prophecies being that the Danes or Esterlings 
would invade Ireland, 


132 Sketches in Carbery. 

Spaniards, amounting to 5,000 men, landed in Kin- 
sale, on the 23rd September, under the command 
of Don Juan d'Aquila, in order to assist the Irish 
chieftains, who had been anxiously awaiting for some 
months back this welcome addition to their forces. 
The Spaniards seized on Kinsale and Rincorran, a 
castle on the opposite side of the harbour, but 
were soon closely besieged by the Lord Deputy 
Mountjoy and the Lord President Sir George Carew. 
On the 28th November, 1601, a reinforcement of 
six Spanish ships, with 2,000 men on board, and 
stores, ordnance, and ammunition in abundance, 
' arrived in Castlehaven, under the command of Don 
Pedro de Zuibar, upon which occurrence all the 
country from Kinsale westward declared for the 
Spaniards. Donough O'Driscoll, who was Lord of 
Castlehaven at the time, delivered up his castle to 
them, and his example was followed by the chief- 
tains in Baltimore, Bearhaven, &c, to whom presents 
and munitions of war were sent by the Spanish com- 
mander, and titles and posts of command bestowed 
upon them. "When news reached Kinsale that the 
Spaniards had landed in Castlehaven, Admiral 
Levison, who was in command of the naval squadron 
in the former place, immediately sailed out of the 
harbour, and proceeded to Castlehaven, where he 
arrived on the 6th December, 1601, and attacked 
the Spanish Admiral. During the engagement he 
drove the ships of the Admiral, Yice- Admiral, and 
two others on shore, but having gone aground 
himself, owing to contrary winds, he lay exposed 
for twenty-four hours, to a battery, which had been* 
erected by the Spaniards, on shore. During this time 
he received 300 shot in his masts, hull and rigging, 
but, the wind taking a favourable change, he warped 

Sketches in Carberp. 1.33 

his vessel out of the harbour, and returned to Kinsale 
in a very shattered condition. 

In the meantime O'Donnell, who was on his way 
from the north to relieve the Spaniards, hy a series 
of rapid marches and counter-marches, managed to 
evade the Lord President's army, and taking a cir- 
cuitous route joined the Spaniards at Castlehaven, 
and then marched towards Kinsale, and comhined 
his forces with those of Tyrone and Tyrrell, with 
whom he held a council of war. On the 23rd De- 
cember, 1601, the battle of Kinsale took place, be- 
tween the English forces, under Lord Mountjoy, on 
the one side, and the Spanish and Irish army, 
under Tyrone, O'Donnell, and Tyrrell on the other, 
ending in the total defeat of the latter, who left 
1,200 dead on the field. A day or two after this, 
fresh supplies arrived at Castlehaven from Spain, 
but, having heard the news of the fall of Kinsale, 
they returned to Spain on the 6th January, 1602, 
taking with them O'Donnell, Kedmund, Burke, &c. 

On the 2nd January, 1602, Don Juau d'Aquila, 
the Spanish commander, surrendered Kinsale to the 
English. The terms of capitulation were as fol- 
lows : — " That the Spaniards should evacuate Kin- 
sale, Baltimore, Castlehaven, and Bearhaven, that 
they should have liberty to carry into Spain all their 
arms, ammunition, treasure, &c, and that they should 
be provided with shipping and victuals to transport 
them if they paid for the same." 

Of the Irish chieftains who accompanied the 
Spaniards on their departure from Castlehaven, by 
far the most illustrious was Hugh Roe O'Donnell 
(Ked Hugh O'Donnell), Lord of Tyrconnell. We 
refer those who would wish to study the early life, 
adventures, exploits, and checkered career of this 

134 Sketches in Carhery. 

renowned chieftain, to the " Annals of the Four Mas- 
ters," and the "Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished 
Irishmen," hy James Wills, A. M., M. E. I. A. ; at 
the same time we feel inclined to diverge somewhat 
from the direct line of narrative, whilst following 
the fortunes of O'Donnell into Spain, and take a 
glance at the closing scenes in the life of this indomi- 
tahle warrior. In the words of the historian : "On 
the 6th day of the month of January, 1602, O'Don- 
nell, with his heroes, took shipping at Cuan-an- 
Caslain (Castlehaven), and the hreath of the first 
wind that rose wafted them over the hoisterous 
ocean." They landed on the 14th of the same 
month in the harbour near Corunna, a celebrated 
city in the province of Grallicia, in Spain. This city 
has been made more memorable still in modern 
times by the battle fought in its neighbourhood, 
between the French and English, in January, 1809, 
when the renowned general Sir John Moore was mor- 
tally wounded. 

Near Corunna was situated the tower of Breogan, 
built in former times by Breogan, the grandfather 
of Milesius. It was from this place the Milesians 
had set out, according to tradition, on their expe- 
dition to Ireland, where they conquered the Tuatha 
de Danaans, 1300 years before the Christian era. 
O'Donnell looked upon this as an omen of success, 
having landed in the country of his ancestors. He 
was received with great honour by the Earl of 
Caraceno, a powerful Spanish nobleman, who pre- 
sented him with a thousand ducats (a very respect- 
able present at the time), and conducted him with 
great state to Zamora, in Castile, where the king 
of Spain, Philip III., was then residing. O'Don- 
nell was well received by Philip, who granted 

Sketches in Carbery. 135 

him all the requests he made, and promised to fit 
out another expedition for Ireland in his favour. 
The king desired him to return to Corunna, and 
await there until the expedition was ready for 
departure. In the meantime news reached Spain 
of the capture of Dun hoy, and the overthrow of the 
Irish leaders in Munster. 

For eight or nine months O'Donnell remained at 
Corunna, daily expecting to hear from the king, 
hut Philip had either forgotten his promise, or failed 
to fulfil it, thinking the chances of success remote 
and improhahle. The restless and energetic soul of 
O'Donnell could no longer hrook delay ; he set out 
for Yallodolid, where the king was holding court 
at the time, hut he did not live to reach the end of 
his journey ; he fell ill at Simaneas, ahout two miles 
from Yallodolid, and died there on the 20th Sep- 
temher, 1602, in the 29th year of his age, nine 
months after his arrival in Spain. His hody was 
conveyed to the king's palace, in Vallodolid, in a four- 
wheeled hearse, surrounded by all the great officers of 
state, andhe was interredin the monastery of St. Fran- 
cis, in the Chapter, with great pomp and ceremony. 

One of the most interesting relics in the Royal 
Irish Academy is the ancient casket which con- 
tains a fragment of a copy of the Psalms written 
by St. Columbkille. The casket consists of three 
cases, the outer one of which is of solid silver, beauti- 
fully designed, and studded over with precious gems. 
The enclosed manuscript, which is thirteen centuries 
old, was styled, " The Cathach or Battle Book of the 
O'Donnells," and was carried in the van by them 
when going into battle. There was a prophecy 
current that as long as "The Cathach" remained 
uncaptured the O'Donnells could not sustain defeat. 



Sketches in Carbery. 

O'Donnell's biographer, who was also his secretary 
and constant companion, gives the following quaint 
description of his character : — 

" Hugh Roe O'Donnell, on the very first year of 
his government, was popular, familiar, joyous, pro- 
gressive, attentive, devastating, invasive, and des- 
tructive ; and in these qualities he continued to 
increase every year to the end of his days." In the 
"Annals of the Four Masters," the writer, when re- 
ferring to his death, breaks forth in a most mournful 
strain, and passes a warm and eloquent eulogium on 
the virtues and warlike qualities of the renowned 
Hugh. Father Mooney, the Franciscan, who was 
contemporary with O'Donnell, thus describes his 
personal appearance: "He was of middle height, 
ruddy, of comely grace, and beautiful to behold. 
His voice was like the clarion of a silver trum- 
pet," &c. 

Mr. Froude, that acute discoverer of the missing 
links of history, whilst poring over the ancient 
documents in the State Paper Office, detected an 
interesting manuscript, one of the " lettres de cachet" 
which formerly passed between Carew and Mount- 
joy, two leading actors in some of the tragedies 
of a bygone age. This historical skeleton, which 
had been lying concealed from the public gaze up 
to the present, beneath the accumulated dust of cen- 
turies, wrapt in mystery and buried in oblivion, Mr. 
Froude has brought to light and exposed in all its 
grim and unseemly proportions in his work entitled 
" The English in Ireland," from which I beg leave 
to quote the following extracts regarding the real 
truth of the sad, untimely, and tragic fate of the 
fearless Red Hugh. 

Preliminary Discourse, page 63 : — " Hugh ODon- 

Sketches in C artery. 137 

nell, who had gone to Spain for help, died at the 
castle of Simancas, possibly by poison." Foot note — 
"On October 9th, 1602, Sir Greorge Carew writes to 
Lord Mountjoy : ' O'Donnell is dead ; the merchant 
that bringeth me the news I do trust, and I do 
think it will fall out he is poisoned by James Blake, 
of whom your lordship hath been formerly acquainted. 
At his coming into Spain he was suspected by 
O'Donnell, because he had embarked at Cork, but 
afterwards he insinuated his access, and O'Donnell 
is dead. He never told the President in what 
manner he would kill him, but did assure him it 
should be effected'" (" Calendar, 1602," pp. 350,51, 
Froude). The foregoing story too truly verifies the 
old Latin aphorism : " Inter arma leges silent." 

To return to Castlehaven. After the departure 
of the Spaniards and O'Donnell in 1602, Captain 
Roger Harvey, to whom a commission had been 
granted for the government of Carbery, by Lord 
Deputy Mountjoy, entered the harbour in command 
of the Royal forces, and took possession of Castle- 
haven on the 12th February, 1602. When the 
Spaniards had evacuated the castle, according to the 
treaty made at the capitulation of Kinsale, the 
O'Driseolls (the original owners), who looked upon 
themselves as the rightful heirs, took possession of 
the place, and when Harvey arrived the Spaniards 
were assaulting and undermining the castle in order 
to get it into their own hands again. The appear- 
ance of the English forces on the stage, however, 
altered the state of affairs ; the O'Driseolls evacuated 
the castle immediately, delivering it up to the 
Spaniards, who had lost two soldiers during the as- 
sault, and they in their turn surrendered to Harvey, 
who took quiet possession of the castle. Never per- 



Sketches in Carhery. 

haps was the old axiom so forcibly illustrated, that 
"Fortune is a fickle goddess," more especially in 'war- 
like affairs. 

Castlehaven, after the departure of the O'Driscolls, 
became the property of the Audley family. George 
Tbuchet, Lord Audley, Governor of Utrecht, who 
had a command in the English army during the 
siege of Kinsale, and who was severely wounded 
during the battle which took place in its vicinity, 
was created first Earl of Castlehaven, in 1616, by 
letters patent in the time of James I. The title was 
enjoyed by this family until the year 1777, when it 
was abolished. In 1645 the castle was occupied by 
the Parliamentary forces, under the command of 
Captain "William Salmon. At this period one of the 
most prominent men in the country was the Earl of 
Castlehaven, who was appointed by general consent 
commander-in-chief of the Irish Royalist forces. 

Castletownsend, the original seat of the Townsend 
family in Ireland, was anciently called Sleugleigh 
(Smith), which was built originally by and belonged 
to the M'Carthys. The old castle, the ruins of which 
can be observed within the demesne, was attacked 
in the year 1690 by some of James the Second's 
troops, under the command of O'Driscoll. They 
were repulsed, and their commander slain ; but 
shortly afterwards Mac Fineen O'Driscoll, with a 
force of 400 men, attacked the place, and compelled 
the garrison to surrender ; subsequently Colonel 
Colliford attacked O'Driscoll, and retook the castle. 

The scenery in the neighbourhood of Castlehaven 
is picturesque and diversified in its character. It 
can be seen to most advantage in the autumn of the 
year, when the foliage of the trees has assumed a 
varying tint from green to russet brown, and when 


Sketches in Carbery. 139 

all nature has put on a soft, rich, and mellow appear- 
ance. From the eminence on which Rahine Castle 
stands we ohtain a charming panoramic view of 
Castlehaven harbour and the surrounding scenery. 
In the distance out to sea, facing the entrance of the 
harbour, those quaint, peculiar-looking rocks, " The 
Stags," open on our view, reminding one forcibly of 
the extensive ruins of an ancient tower or castle, or 
calling to mind at times the description we read in 
legendary tales of the "phantom ships at sea." 
The coast line on the west side of the harbour is 
broken in its continuity by several points of land, 
which jut out into the sea. Toe-head Point forms 
the extremity of the land lying some distance out- 
side the harbour's mouth, which is bounded on 
the west by the next point, called Traghcarta. Be- 
tween Toe-head and Traghcarta the sea runs in, and 
forms a small open bay called Sandycove or Tor- 
bay. The cliffs in this bay are high, and furnished 
with numerous caves, the entrance to which is gene- 
rally low and circular ; internally, however, they are 
excavated to a considerable height, and run in for 
some distance. When a boat enters within the 
gloomy recesses of the cavern, if there be a " swell 
on" outside, the sea rising up closes the orifice 
almost entirely, at the same time raising the boat 
up towards the roof, and leaving the visitors for 
awhile in nearly complete darkness. All these caves 
are frequented by pigeons and sea fowl in great 

Off Traghcarta, near the harbour's mouth, lies 
Horse Island, which divides the entrance into two 
channels, the eastern one of which is used by vessels 
drawing ten feet of water and upwards. This island 
is the property of Thomas Somerville,Esq., D.L. The 


140 Sketches in Carbery. 

herbage on it, according to Smith, was considered to 
have great virtue, in restoring to condition diseased 
and impoverished horses. The Squince Island, in the 
parish of Myross, was also celebrated for producing 
a similar kind of herbage. Between Traghcarta and 
the Drishane Point the sea takes a gradual sweep, 
forming Castlehaven, or Glenbarrahane Bay, as it 
was anciently called. 

Tbe historical associations connected with- this 
place have been discussed, and it may not be amiss 
now to give a descriptive account of the locality. 
Close to the sea beach are the ruins of Grlenbarrahane 
Castle, built by the O'Driscolls. Although it has 
braved the " battle and the breeze" for nearly three 
centuries, the walls are still in good preservation ; 
the east, north, and south walls are standing, the 
western one has fallen down. At the south-west 
corner some years ago a spacious and handsome hall- 
door of nicely cut freestone was standing, but this 
has also disappeared. The western wall is in a tot- 
tering condition at present, and shakes and rocks 
most ominously with every strong blast of wind. A 
long chimney runs through the whole length of the 
wall from top to bottom, and in the summer affords a 
sheltered retreat to a large colony of bees. Adjoin- 
ing this wall is a portion of a side building, which 
was formerly attached to the castle. At some dis- 
tance from the foundation an arched floor of stone 
stretches across from one side of the castle to the 
other, dividing it into two stories, which are now 
bare and lonely, tenanted only by the fern, moss, 
and lichen. A short distance from the castle, and 
close to the beach, are situated the graveyard and 
the remains of the chapel of St. Barrahane, consist- 
ing of a small, triangular wall, the eastern end of 

Sketches in Carbery. 


the chapel, which must have been of diminutive 
proportions, and not of much architectural beauty : 
there is a low, narrow archway in the centre and at 
the bottom of the wall. The graveyard is small in 
size : it is the original burying-place of the Townsend, 
Atteridge, and Somerville families. 

An air of solemn silence and quiet repose hangs 
over this lonely and sequestered glen, with its ruined 
castle and solitary graveyard, filled with crumbling 
monuments and grass-grown graves. How different 
must have been the scene in ages past, when the 
clamour of war and shout of battle which rang round 
O'Driscoll's fortress, made Glenbarrahane re-echo 
again ; or, when in calmer and less troubled times, 
the congregation knelt in prayer within the walls of 
the ancient chapel, so picturesquely situated near 
the sea ; but these days are gone, and we can now 
look with interest and advantage on the relics and 
ruins of the past. 

The deep, rocky glen, which runs inland from the 
sea about a quarter of a mile towards the rectory of 
Castlehaven, is a miniature Dargle in appearance ; 
it is wooded on both sides, and there is a pathway 
on the north side leading to the rector's house. A 
narrow, shallow, murmuring stream runs through 
the bosom of the glen, hollowing out for itself a 
rocky bed and tortuous course, and forming here 
and there clear limpid pools and tiny cascades ; 
having passed close to the graveyard, it finally sinks 
into the sand on the beach, and disappears from 
view. Close to the stream on the south side, and 
but a short distance from the graveyard, is situated 
the Holy Well, sacred to the memory of St. Barra- 
hane : whatever may have been its former condition, 
it is insignificant-looking and neglected at present. 

Sketches in Carbery. 

An old holly tree overshadows the well, its branches 
being thickly covered with creeping ivy, and gaily 
festooned with white and parti-coloured rags in pro- 
fusion, which chronicle the numerous visits of local 
pilgrims to this secluded spot ; and certainly a more 
appropriate place of prayer for saint or sinner cannot 
well be imagined. The memory of the patron, St. 
Barrahane, the holy well, the murmuring stream, 
the solitary glen, the ancient graveyard, the ruined 
chapel, and the sea breaking gently on the beach, 
all lend their combined influence — 

To form a scene where nature loves to dwell, 
And breathe her spirit o'er the lonely dell. 

In ancient times, when smuggling was an every- 
day occurrence, the hamlet of Grlenbarrahane carried 
on a flourishing trade in the contraband line with 
the coast of Spain. In those days also (that is about 
a century ago) a linen manufactory was established 
at Killehangill. However, like many others of a 
similar nature throughout the country, it has fallen 
to decay for many years. The eastern boundary of 
Castlehaven harbour is formed by Eeen Point, or 
Galleon Point, as it is sometimes called, which forms 
a bluff, rocky promontory. It was here, during the 
wars of 1601, that the Spaniards intrenched them- 
selves upon the high ground commanding the harbour, 
and from this they bombarded Admiral Levison's 
ship when she went aground. The Spanish intrench- 
ment, resembling an ancient rath, is still to be seen ; 
and quite close to it are pointed out numerous little 
mounds of earth, the head-stones almost covered by 
the soil, where lie the remains of the Spaniards who 
had fallen in action or died of disease. The country 
people are under the impression that it is the resting- 

Sketches in Carbery, 


place of the Danes. At the extremity of Been Point 
are situated the remains of one of the ovens used by 
the Spaniards: they consist at present of a pit in the 
ground, surrounded by fragments of a circular wall. 
The view from Eeen Point up the harbour and out 
to sea is extensive and well worth seeing. The har- 
bour of Castlehaven, from its entrance, which is about 
half a mile across, runs inland a distance of three 
miles. The channel is bold and deep, the average 
depth of water in the harbour being from fourteen 
to thirty feet, and suited for vessels drawing ten 

About midway up the harbour are situated on the 
western shore, on the declivity of a hill, the village 
and seat of Castletownsend. Adjoining the latter 
are the ruins of the castle, the original seat of the 
Townsend family, to which allusion has already been 
made. Facing Castletownsend at the opposite side 
stand the ruins of Eahine Castle, built by the 
O'Donovans. Close to the castle a narrow sand spit 
projects out into the water from the beach, and this 
separates the lower half, called The Harbour proper, 
from the upper part, which is called the Eineen 
Eiver, and which, taking a winding course about 
one mile and a half long, terminates near Eineen 
Mills in a ml de sac at Pekeen na Mara Bridge (the 
extremity of the sea), on the Skibbereen and Myross 
road ; it is properly an estuary of the sea, being salt 
water, but is styled a river owing to its winding 
course and narrow channel. On the west side, at 
the head of this estuary, is situated Eineen House, 
the seat of J. H. Swanton, Esq., of modern construc- 
tion, but one of the most picturesquely situated 
houses in Carbery ; the grounds are laid out with 
great taste and skill, and the view, when the tide is 

144 Sketches in Carbery. 

in, from Pekeen na Mara Bridge, is extremely 

Townsend, in his work on the " County of Cork," 
gives the following very graphic description of the 
scenery along the upper harbour from Castletowns- 
end to Bineen : — 

" The demesne of Castletownsend, which embraces 
both sides of the upper Harbour, or, as it is commonly 
called, the Eiver, possesses a diversified richness of 
scenery, of which the pencil, not the pen, can give 
an adequate idea. The river, alternately contracting 
and expanding its winding channel, now coJLLects 
into a narrow strait, now spreads into an expansive 
lake. The hills, which rise from its shores at either 
side — sometimes rocky and abrupt, and sometimes 
with more gradual acclivity — are for the most part 
thickly wooded ; the form of their summits, differing 
in character, corresponds in variety with the lower 
grounds — some of them bold, rocky, and majestic ; 
others of an interesting appearance, though less 
strongly marked. The harbour of Castletownsend, 
with its venerable castle, a large island at its mouth, 
many bold projections of rocky coast, and the ocean, 
immeasurably extended beyond them all, present 
themselves in different points of view from parts of 
the grounds. Indeed, one of the most singular 
beauties of the place is the perpetual change of 
prospect which almost every change of situation 

The upper harbour serves as a sort of reservoir, 
which carries off into the sea the drainage from the 
adjacent country ; numerous brooks and rivulets — 
some of which during the winter rains become swol- 
len into pigmy torrents, and which drain the super- 
fluous water of the surrounding land — run down the 

Sketches in Carbery. 145 

declivities of the hill sides, and discharge their waters 
into this estuary. On the west side of the harhour 
on a high eminence, wooded to the top and overlook- 
ing the demesne and harhour, a rude heap and arch- 
way of stones, called the Nelson Monument, may be 
observed. It was erected shortly after the battle of 
Trafalgar, to commemorate that event, by the sailors 
of a sloop of war stationed in Castlehaven at the 
time. An inscription, detailing the cause and date 
of its erection, was engraved on a slab at the base 
of the monument; but time and exposure to the 
weather have managed to efface the letters most 

Since the visit of the Spaniards in the commence- 
ment of the 17th century, perhaps no event down 
to the present time has created more excitement 
amongst the inhabitants than the visit of a large 
herd of whales, which ran into Castlehaven during 
the winter of 1855, one of the severest winters on 
record in this country. They forced their way up 
the Eineen river, but—the tide receding left the 
greater number floundering on the mud-banks. The 
leader of the flock was harpooned near the harbour's 
mouth by the late T. Atteridge, Esq., of Castle- 
townsend, but, instead of forcing his way out to 
sea, he steered his course up the river towards Eineen 
(almost the entire herd following in his wake to the 
number of about fifty), towing the boat after him at 
railway speed. The leader measured twenty-five 
feet in length. The whales were of a species, small 
in size, called the round-headed Eorpoise or Caaing 
whale (Phocaena Melas). The people from the 
country round assembled in large numbers, and with 
hatchets, harpoons, pikes, and any weapons they 
could seize on, soon despatched their captives : how- 


146 Sketches in Carter y. 

ever, the amount of oil obtained proved inconsider- 
able, as the blubber was not very abundant, and the 
people were not well versed in the mode of extracting 
the oil. 

Townsend, in his work, alludes in very flattering 
terms to the proprietor of Castletownsend in his time 
— Richard Townsend, Esq., who represented the 
county Cork in Parliament during the early years 
of the present century. It appears that he was instru- 
mental in organizing improvements, and endeavoured 
to develop the trade, and to add to the importance 
of Castletownsend in many ways. 

The present village of Castletownsend occupies 
the declivity of a hill, which slopes down to" the 
harbour at an angle of about 25 degrees, the ascent 
of which is no easy task, unless for a person in robust 
health : it is a veritable Sleepy Hollow, and some of 
the houses present a venerable and moss-grown appear- 
ance which entitle them to a place in a work on 
antiquities. The surrounding scenery needs no 
comment: it is the ne plus ultra of the charming and 
picturesque — there are a few nice villas and well- 
cultivated gardens in the neighbourhood. The 
Domain House ("The Big House"), the seat of 
the Townsends, is a modern building ; the previous 
structure was nearly burnt to the ground acci- 
dentally in 1858. The present mansion is a 
plain-looking structure outside, comfortable and 
commodious within ; of a mixed style of architec- 
ture ; the architect had an eye more to the useful 
than the ornamental, or picturesque ; as the view 
from the house is on a rather limited scale — viz., a 
circumscribed portion of the domain, and a bird's- 
eye peep at the Harbour. 
Close to the village of Castletownsend, a short 

Sketches in Carbcrp. 147 

distance from the high road, on a hill called Knock - 
dromma, we observe a very perfect specimen of the 
stone fort or " cathair," 'which presents some very- 
interesting features, and is well worthy of a visit. 
Ascending to the summit of the hill, after a 
short walk, we reach an elevated circumscribed 
plateau, completely isolated and distinct from the 
surrounding hillocks, and. occupied by the remains 
and underground -chambers of the " cathair. 5 ' A 
circular wall of uncemented flat stones is seen 
erected around the edge of the plateau ; this wall 
is about 320 feet in circumferenc^5>10 feet thick, and 
about 8 feet high. The present proprietor of the 
land, T. Somerville, Esq., D.L., Drishane, has 
endeavoured to preserve the structure in as complete 
a manner as possible. The outer wall, which had 
nearly fallen down, he has built up again with the 
original materials, so as to restore it more or less to 
its pristine proportions. 

At the eastern side of the enclosure there is a gap 
through the wall flanked on the south by a pillar- 
stone, on the surface of which an ancient-looking 
cross is engraved. On the adjoining side of this 
entrance there is a hollow recess in the thickness of 
the wall : for what purpose it was intended is doubt- 
ful. Lying on the ground, close to the entrance, is 
a large stone of irregular shape, covered witr/about 
twenty cup-shaped depressions, evidently of an arti- 
ficial character. It seems strange what they were 
intended to represent — a sort of antiquarian puzzle. 
Another stone discovered formerly in the vicinity 
had the cup-shaped hollows joined to each other by 
narrow grooves so as to resemble dumb-bells in 
shape. In the centre of the area within the circular 
outer wall a confused heap of stones was formerly 



148 Sketches in Carbery. 

piled together. On removing these the foundations 
of four side walls -were brought to view, (enclosing a 
portion of ground about 20 feet square, which seems 
to have been roughly flagged. The debris must 
evidently have been part and parcel of some ancient 
stone building ("clochan") with the usual bee-hive 
shaped stone roof. 

At the south-west angle of this enclosed central 
space there is a square-headed doorway with a lintel 
on the top, a flag beneath, and rough walls at either 
side : this leads by a narrow passage sloping down- 
wards and inwards (and just sufficiently capacious 
to admit an adult in the recumbent posture) into a 
dark, gloomy chamber, excavated out of the solid 
rock. The latter is of an irregular oval shape, 12 
feet long, 4 feet wide, and about 3^ feet high ; the 
walls approximate overhead, and it is roofed over 
by large Hat stones, close to the surface of the soil. 

Near the entrance leading into chamber No. 1, 
and communicating with the latter, is a circular 
aperture, barely sufficient to admit of a forcible pas- 
sage on all fours, through which we gain admission 
into chamber No. 2 ; this chamber is also excavated 
out of the solid rock : it is 7 feet 4 inches long, 
4 feet 9 inches wide, and 3 to 4 feet high, and 
somewhat oven-shaped. We observe a flag-stone in 
the roof, through which is a circular opening, a sort 
of air hole or ventilator, that would lead us to be- 
lieve the chambers were intended as places of retreat 
for living beings. No. 3 chamber, which is of an 
irregular oval shape, is joined to No. 2 by a circular 
opening through the rock ; it is 11 feet 6 inches 
long, and 4 feet wide. Near the western end is a 
ventilating shaft or chimney, the entrance to which 
is blocked up by rough stones: this circumstance 


Sketches in Carbery. 149 

would also strengthen our belief as to these strange 
subterranean dens having been utilized as human 
habitations in some remote age, more especially 
when the remains of the stone house or clochan, 
which we have already alluded to, are discovered in 
such close proximity and intimate union with the 
subterranean passages. One seems to have been the 
ante-room, and the other the basement story. The 
date of their construction must be of very remote 
origin, belonging to a pre-Christian era most pro- 
bably. Certainly the inhabitants of these gloomy 
chambers on Knockdromma, whether Firbolgs, 
Tuatha de Danaans, or Milesians, had no very 
advanced or elevated ideas about either domestio 
comforts or architectural progress ; in this respect, 
however, I dare say they were on a level, if not 
superior, to the majority of the Celtic and Teutonic 
tribes of the time in which they flourished. 

The visitor to Knockdromma, no matter how 
actively his antiquarian tastes may be engaged, 
cannot fail, however, to be greatly impressed with 
the very beautiful and charming view he obtains of 
the surrounding sceneiy. Between the eminence 
on which we stand and the sea, the landscape pre- 
sents a most picturesque appearance, diversified and 
enlivened by bright-looking verdant nooks, and shel- 
tered spots, sparkling in the sunshine — oases in the 
wilderness of rocks, projecting so prominently above 
the surface — alluvial deposits washed down into their 
present position from the hill sides, which they have 
deserted, and well repaying a careful cultivation. 
The dull, monotonous brown colour of the rocks is 
relieved in a great degree also by the purple heather, 
the golden tufted furze, and the white spray-like 
blossoms of the fragrant hawthorn, and the breeze 


150 Sketches in Carbery. 

blowing in from the ocean is exhilarating srnd re- 
freshing, laden as it is with the perfume of thousands 
of wild flowers. t 

The coast line is singularly beautiful. A wide 
expanse of ocean is before us to the south, limited 
by the distant horizon, bounded on the east by the 
projecting peninsula of the Galley Head (Dundeide). 
Towards the west the most prominent object is the 
hill above Toe Head, named Beann Hill, whose sullen 
lowering brow is generally surmounted by a canopy 
of light, fleecy clouds, its sombre-looking sides 
enveloped in graceful folds of white vapoury mist, 
through which we can faintly descry each dark and 
rugged feature of the promontory. Away far inland, 
towards the west, we observe the extensive chains of 
mountains which stretch as a gigantic barrier be- 
tween the adjoining confines of Cork and Kerry. 
At sunset the scene is one which can never be for- 
gotten — the sun sinking to rest in a flood of aureate 
light — a monarch decked in all the regalia of 
royalty, encircled by golden-fringed clouds, brilliantly- 
coloured, outriv ailing in lustre the Tyrian purple or 
the sparkle of the precious gem — 

" And as I watch the line of light that plays 
Along the smooth wave tow'rd the burning west, 
I long to tread that golden path of rays, 
And think 'twould lead to some bright isle of rest." 

I have selected some passages from a poem 
entitled, "Lines descriptive of Castlehaven," with 
the permission of the writer, and I regret that want 
of space prevents my including all the verses, which 
display both taste and talent. 

"There'i many a fair enchanting^ scene on Erin's rock-bound 
And 'mong the loveliest, I ween, this tranquil spot can boast 

Sketches in Carbery. 


A touching beauty all its own, a magic grace so rare, 
So calm, so silent, and so lone, and oh .' so passing fair. 

" Embosom'd deep amid high hills, verdant and foliage crown'd; 
Adown which ripple sparkling rilta with soft and murmuring 
sound." < r 


" On either side a little bay, 
Majestic cliffs,-bare, bold, and grey, 
Their tall, fantastic forms display, 
Pierced deep with many arched caves, 
Worn by the ocean's lashing waves." 

"An ancient graveyard lies beside, all filled with grass-grown 

Near to the ever-murmuring tide. With cadence sweet the waves, 
In their low, soothing monotone a peaceful requiem sing, 
Which seems half-music and half-moan, so weird and sad a 


" Close to a white and pebbly strand, a ruined castle old, 

In mournful majesty doth stand — O'Driscoll's lordly hold." 

" 'Hong all the keeps which owned their sway on shore or sea-girt 
And many castles proud had they, this wears the saddest smile. 
What old, historic mem'ries cling, like ivy, round the walls ; 
And o'er the days a halo flings, when chieftains trod those halls ; 
And listened to the harp's sweet sound, while banquets rich were 

spread ; 
The ruby wine passed freely round, both guest and poor were fed. 
And fair forms flitted here and there, and eyes shone full of glee, 
And gallant chiefs led ladies forth in dance right joyously. 
While Irish musio, wit and song, 
'Made time fly speedily along, 

And gladdened all the merry throng." 
* * * * 

"Those days have vanished like a dream, long dreamed in the 
shadowy past, 
Its music now 's the sea bird's scream, or the wild and moaning 

Which nightly whistles thro' the doors, with ghostly, elfin sound, 
A plaintive elegy, that soars its winding stairs around. 
The wild bird is the only guest 
Which now within those walls doth rest, 
And safely builds her airy nest 
IJpon the turret's lofty crest. 



Sketches in Carbery. 

"Nature has shed with lavish hand her varied beauties round 
O'er this enchanting fairy land. On every side abound 
The softest charms of sea and shore, of sylvan glade and dell 
The song of birds, the billow's roar; both hill, and dale, and fell, 

/And cliff, and cove, and bay as well, 
And giant trees that stoop to lave 
Their branches in the clear, blue wave 
* _ * * * 



Sketches in Carbery. 



Myross — The O'Donovans — Baunlaghan— Smith's account of the 
Dadagh Scene at Blarney Castle — History of the Clancahill or 
senior branch of the O'Donovans — The Mealagh river — Castle Dono- 
van — A condensed account of the O'Donovans' genealogy down to 
the beginning of the present century— Castle Ivor — Lough Cluhir 
and the legend about Ivor — John Collins of Myross, a brief account 
of his life — Myross continued — The Cistercian Abbey of Carrigilehy 
— The old fishing hamlet, and the wreck of the smuggled cargo of 
brandy — Squince House, seat of the Clanloughlin O'Donovans — 
Shipwreck at Blind Harbour — Dean Swift and the "Carberise 
Eupes" — "Harrington's Lights," 1832 — Mysterious appearance at 
Union Hall — Letters on this wonderful occurrence from a writer 
in the New Monthly Magazine, and Doctor Donovan, senior, of 

The parish, of Myross forms an elevated obtuse 
peninsula, bounded on the east by Glandore har- 
bour, on the west by Castletownsend harbour, on 
the south by the sea, and on the north by a line 
drawn from Shepperton to Leap. Its ancient name 
was Garry, the Irish for garden. It was so called, 
as the soil was more fertile in its qualities than any 
other part of "West Carbery. Myross is a place re- ' 
plete with interest, as several relics of antiquity 
may be observed there, and as no less a personage 
than Dean Swift himself took up his residence there 
for six months, and commemorated his sojourn by a 
poem (" Eupes Carberise "), to which we will refer 
further on. 

Mrs. and Mr. S. C. Hall, in their charming work 
entitled "Ireland: its Scenery, Character, &c." inform 
us " A tower near Castletownsend is pointed out as 

154 Sketches in Carbery. 

the place where the Dean composed this poem. 
It is now a complete ruin, being merely a shell of a 
turret overgrown with ivy, but commanding a beauti- 
ful prospect of the harbour, and over the sea." The 
tower which flanked the old castle on its eastern side 
still exists ; the walls are thickly enveloped in ancient 
ivy ; it stands as a solitary relic of the ancient forta- 
lice within the Castletownsend demesne. Eock 
Cottage at Union Hall, near Glandore, and Squince 
House in Myross, are also mentioned as being the 
places where Swift wrote his " Eupes Carberise." 

At the north-west corner of the parish, near 
Eineen, is situated Bawnlahan, which formerly was 
the principal seat of the O'Donovan family in Car- 
bery, after Castledonovan. Its original name was 
Banleathan, which means in Irish a broad field or 
enclosure, where cattle were generally confined. 
Portions of the old walls which enclosed this place 
are standing still ; the greater part, however, have 
fallen down. In the old feudal times, when castles 
and fortified dwellings studded the surface of the 
country, and when the various tribes and families 
adopted what is often styled : 

" The good old rule, the simple plan, 
That they may take who had the power, 
And they may keep who can," 

predatory incursions by one chieftain into another's 
territories were frequent occurrences, leading in most 
cases to retaliation, and nearly always to fighting 
and bloodshed, so that a chronic state of internecine 
strife and rivalry was kept up. Neighbouring chief- 
tains preyed on each other's resources, acknowledging 
no law but that which they maintained by the sword 
and the right of conquest. 

Sketches in Carlery. 155 

Smith gives the following account of one of those 
forays, which I introduce', as it refers particularly to 
one of the ancient chieftains, an ancestor to the 
O'Donovan of Bawnlahan : — " Clancarthy, Mac Car- 
thy Eeagh, and O'Donovan, having joined their 
forces, went into the county of Limerick to plunder, 
as was the custom of former times. They brought 
a considerable prey to the castle of Blarney, the seat 
of Clancarthy, who- was for having all the cattle 
drove into his own bawn, without sharing the spoil, 
and in this manner he had served MacCarthy Eeagh 
before, who then lived at the castle of Kilbrittain, 
and who, on this occasion, called upon O'Donovan to 
join him, that he might assist him if Clancarthy did 
not share the booty. O'Donovan immediately opposed 
the driving in of the cattle without dividing them, 
whereupon a contest ensued. Clancarthy, being 
thrown down by O'Donovan, had his weapon drawn 
intending to kill his antagonist; but O'Donovan, per- 
ceiving his design, wrenched it from him, and with 
it slew Clancarthy on the spot, and divided the spoil 
with Mac Carthy Eeagh. It is not certainly known 
when this event happened, but the instrument, with 
this tradition relating to it, is time out of mind in the 
family. It was a class of weapon of ancient Irish ori- 
gin, called the dadagh, and was somewhat similar to 
the Highland dirk. This weapon is supposed to come 
originally from the Spanish Miquelets, from whom, 
according to antiquarians, the Milesian Irish derived 
them, and afterwards handed them over to the Scots." 
We find that the title of O'Donovan of Castle- 
donovan and Bawnlahan, was adopted by the chiefs 
of Clancahill (O'Donovans) about A. D. 1640, when 
Donnell III., O'Donovan tenth in descent from 
Crom, adopted the title. He had two manors attached 


15(5 Sketches in Carbery. 

to Ms territories, that of Castledonovan in Drimo- 
league, comprising 67 ploughlands, and the manor of 
Kahine, in Myross. Here it will be necessary to 
make a digression, and go back to the 12th and 13th 
centuries, and offer some brief remarks on the Carbery 
of that period, in order to obtain a clue to the dis- 
tribution of this family, and properly understand 
the history of after events. 

The ancestor- of all the septs of the O'Donovan 
family in the baronies of Carbery, and of several others 
in Leinster, was Crom O'Donovan, who built the 
celebrated castle of Crom, or Croom, on the banks of 
the river Maigue, in the county Limerick, where he 
occupied a territory called Ui-Cairbre-Aebhdha, 
which comprised the barony of Coshma, and the dis- 
trict around Kilmallock. After the English invasion 
this castle was seized on by the Fitzgeralds (the 
Kildare branch), and it afterwards gave origin to 
the famous motto " Crom Aboo," used still by the 
Earls of Kildare. This Crom was killed, A. D. 1254, 
at Inispheale, near Iniskeen, during an engagement 
with the O'Mahonys. According to Dr. J. O'Dono- 
van, he gave name to Grleam-a-Chroim, in the parish 
of Fanlobus, which afterwards became the property 
of a branch of the McCarthys, who had their principal 
seat at Dunmanway. 

Cathal or Cahill O'Donovan was the first son of _. 
Crom. The fortune of war proving adverse to him, 
he was obliged to desert the solum natale, being forced 
out of his territories by the Eitzgeralds, and follow- 
ing an example which was very prevalent at the 
time, he seized on a territory in West Carbery which 
is known at present as the parish of Drimoleague, 
and having defeated in battle the O'Driscolls, the 
original proprietors, he compelled them to migrate 

Sketches in Carbery. 


towards the coast. To this newly-acquired possession 
he transferred the tribe name of his family — Cairbrie, 
and this by a strange whim of custom was extended 
during the 13th century to the entire tract of 
country, now known as the baronies of Carbery, and 
formerly styled Corca Laidhe. The name of Clan- 
cahil, after Cahil O'Donovan, was given to a large 
extent of country in the county of Cork, comprising, 
besides the parish of Drimoleague, several other tracts 
towards the south coast, in the parishes of Cabaragh, 
Drinagh, Myross, Castlehaven, &c, embracing alto- 
gether 67 ploughlands. 

The nortbern boundary was the river Mealagh — 
formerly Myalagh — which rises in Mount Owen (the 
hill of streams) in the parish of Fanlobus, and taking 
a north-westerly direction, between Drimoleage, Fan- 
lobus and Kilmocomogue, falls into Bantry Bay at 

From its fountain head to its termination, the 
Mealagh, though its course is short, has some points 
of interest. Not far from its source, it is a diminu- 
tive mountain stream near tbe foot of Mount Owen, 
dashing down in one place as a foaming cascade, 
over tbe sheer side of a rocky boulder which projects 
from tbe hill- side. Gathering size and importance, 
as it goes along, from all the numerous mountain 
rills which add their tributary waters, it winds 
along, a murmuring stream, as the Irish name 
denotes, through the centre of the valley of Barna- 
gowlans, which is a cup-shaped hollow in the heart 
of the mountain, most remote, secluded, and difficult 
of access, about equi-distant from Dunmanway, 
Drimoleague, and Bantry. 

The latter is so completely encircled by mountains 
on every side, and the mode of exit appears so diffi- 


158 Sketches in Carba'y. 

cult, as to recall somewhat' to our memory the story 
of Basselas iu the Abyssiniau Valley, which must 
have presented however a more enjoyable prospect 
than Barnagowlanes. The names of some of the 
adjacent mountains, viz., Mullaghmeisa, Derreena- 
crenig, Knock-na-Cnauv-TJllig, &c. (euphonious 
words), would be a puzzle and source of dismay in 
pronunciation to a Cockney tourist. At Dunamark, 
near Bantry, the river terminates its career by pre- 
cipitating itself as a deep, resounding cataract over 
a bare rocky cliff, into Bantry Bay. Dunamark is 
a memorable spot in two ways. Here, according to 
Dr. O'Donovan, translator of the "Four Masters," 
landed Ceasair (not Julius Ceesar) and her com- 
panions forty days before the deluge — the first 
mortals that ever set foot on Erin's Isle, if we 
are to believe the antediluvian tradition ; and here 
also was formerly the original seat of the Carews, 
one of whom, the celebrated Sir George Carew, halted 
at Dunamark on his way to the siege of Dunboy. 

The chief residence of the O'Donovans was Castle- 
donovan, in Drimoleague, attached to which was 
ODonovan's seat in the same parish. The walls of 
Castledonovan are standing still. ODonovan says: 
"Great rents are visible still from the effects of light- 
ning of gunpowder, as it is said to have been blown 
up with gunpowder by the Cromwellians. It stands 
upon a rock, and a spiral staircase runs up to the 
top. It is 42 feet long, 26 feet broad, and about 
60 feet high." According to Collins, Castledonovan 
was built by Donnell I. O'Donovan, commonly called 
Domhnall na-g-Croiceann, who was chief of Clan- 
cahill, A. D. 1560. Others think that part of this 
castle was older than his time. 

The walls of the castle are about six feet thick; the 

Sketches in Carbery. 159 

principal entrance is in the western gable, the door- 
way consisting of a gothic a.rch of limestone, skil- 
fully cut and fashioned. At one time there was a 
massive door protecting this entrance, swinging on 
stout hinges, and secured in front by large iron bolts. 
This door, it is said, was discovered some years ago 
by a neighbouring farmer, who carried it home, and 
broke it up for domestio purposes. The staircase, 
which was a spiral one, consists of 91 steps, and the 
parapets, which were machicolated, supported a broad 
balcony, on which guns could be mounted. There 
were also redoubts, breast works, and a bakehouse, 
the ruins of which can still be observed close to the 
walls of the central tower. 

The castle derived its power and importance, as 
an impregnable stronghold, not so much from the 
firmness of its architecture and the strength of its 
garrison as from the situation it occupied — protected 
on the east, north, and north-west by a regular 
amphitheatre of hills, and built' on a rock at the 
head of a remote mountain valley; before the ad- 
jacent land was cultivated, it was formerly sur- 
rounded by a circle of bogs, and marshes, a safe 
passage through which presented no small difficulty 
to an invading force. 

There is a tradition that O'Donovan and his fol- 
lowers on one occasion went on a foraging expedi- 
tion to the baronies of Bear and Ban try ; they seized 
on some cattle belonging to Dhpnal Coum O'Sullivan : 
the latter, however, went in pursuit, accompanied by 
a large force, and overtook O'Donovan at a pass 
between Derreenacrenig and Mullaghmeisa moun- 
tains, close to Castle Donovan, where a battle ensued, 
attended with much bloodshed, each side claiming 
the victory. Ever since this occurred the mountain 

160 Sketches in Carter*/. 

pass has been known under the name of Barnafulla 
(the gap of blood). 

In 1650 the castle was attacked, it is said, by one 
of Cromwell's generals ; the garrison having ex- 
hausted their ammunition, and being called on to 
surrender, escaped during the night, and fled to 
Limerick. "We have no accurate record since that 
period of the castle having been regularly inhabited. 
There is a report current that the White Boys used 
its gloomy chambers as a place of retreat at one 
time. A square boulder of rock near the brink of 
the little mountain stream which passes close by the 
castle walls is still known as Carrig-na-Mart (Rock 
of the beef), for here, according to tradition, the 
owners of the castle were accustomed to have the 
cattle killed which were destined as food for them- 
selves, their followers, and attendants. 

The territory of Clancahill, as was mentioned 
already, included two manors, that of Castledonovan 
and the manor of Bahine in Myross, the seat attached 
to which was Banlaghan. 

Donnell III. O'Donovan, who flourished during 
the middle of the 17th century, was a man distin- 
guished both in war and peace, admired by his friends 
and respected by his enemies. He died in the year 
1660. He was a strict loyalist, and joined during 
the Cromwellian wars the Earl of Castlehaven, who 
was commander-in-chief of the royalists in Ireland 
at that period. His principal castle in Myross was 
Bahine, which was head of a manor in 1607. Ac- 
cording to Collins, this castle was built by Donnell II. 
O'Donovan, who succeeded his father, Donnell L, in 
1584. Bahine castle is situated close to the water's 
edge, on the east side of the harbour, facing Castle- 
townsend. It is of very solid construction, and 


Sketches in Carbery. 161 

built after the same model as Castledonovan Castle. 
The east wall has fallen -down. The western wall, 
looking out to the harbour's mouth, is fissured with 
rents, and presents quite a battered appearance. 
Several holes are visible where cannon balls pene- 
trated, some of which are still imbedded in the solid 
masonry of the wall. During 1649, after the land- 
ing of Cromwell in Dublin, the lands about Eahine 
were ravaged with fire" and sword bj the Crom- 
wellians. It was, most probably, at this period the 
castle was attacked and bombarded by some ships in 
the harbour, as we learn from historians that two 
castles belonging to O'Donovan were^esieged then 
and blown up with gunpowder. 

In ancient times a system of masonry called 
grouting, was adopted in the building of castles and 
fortified places. Instead of laying alternate layers 
of mortar between the stones, a fluid mortar of sand 
and lime, mixed with blood, chopped horse hair, and 
sometimes fine gravel, was poured into holes in the 
wall, and this fluid mortar finding its way into every 
crevice, when it cooled bound the parts together in 
as complete and solid a manner as if the buildiDg 
was hewn out of a rock. In this way we can account 
why it is that the buildings of olden times can resist 
the effects of time and exposure to weather better 
than the more elaborate, but also more lath-and- 
plaster edifices of modern construction. 

John O'Donovan, the eminent Irish scholar, genea- 
logist, and historian, who died in 1864, has entered 
very minutely, and with great research, into the 
genealogy and history of the senior branch of the 
O'Donovan family, who formerly occupied the parish 
of Myross as already mentioned. As we are at 
present engaged in studying the different points of 


162 Sketches in Carbery. 

interest connected "with that parish, I have been 
tempted to present, in a condensed form- and in con- 
secutive order, some of the leading particulars which 
he refers to, as a description of Myross would be in- 
complete without them. 

On the death of Donnell III., . O'Donovan, of 
Castledonovan and Sahine, his son, Daniel IV., who 
was left without any property, petitioned King 
Charles II. to restore to him his father's estates, which 
were forfeited during the Cromwellian wars. The 
kino- wrote to the Irish Government, directing their 
attention to the matter, the result being that a por- 
tion of the Manor of Rahine was restored to him, 
but no part of the Manor of Castledonovan, which 
the king, by patent, in the 18th year of his reign, 
granted to Lieutenant Nathaniel Evanson. 

A copy of the king's letter was preserved atBawn- 
lao-han House, and lay in the possession of the late 
Edward Powell, Esq. 

In 1684, O'Donovan was put on his trial for high 
treason, but was honourably acquitted. He after- 
wards became colonel of a foot regiment in the 
service of James II., and was deputy governor of 
Charles Port, in 1690, when it was attacked by 
Lord Marlborough and forced to surrender, the gar- 
rison being allowed to march out with their arms 
and baggage. 

Daniel IV. O'Donovan was succeeded, about 1703, 
by Captain Richard O'Donovan, who married Eleanor 
Fitzgerald, daughter of the Knight of Kerry. He 
was succeeded by his eldest son, Daniel V., who 
married, in his 18th year, Anne Kearney, daughter 
of James Kearney, Esq., of Grarrettstown, and 
secondly, in 1763, in the 60th year of his age, Jane 
Becher, daughter of John Becher, Esq., of Holly- 

Sketches in Carbery. 


brook, then 15 years old, by whom he had four 
children. He died in 1778. Smith, in his " History 
of Cork," in noticing Bawnlaghan, makes the follow- 
ing remark : — 

"In this parish (Myross) is Bawnlaghan, the 
seat of O'Donovan, chief of that ancient family, a 
worthy, courteous gentleman." 

His children were (1) Eichard, a general in the 
English service ; (2) John, a captain in the English 
service, who was killed in the year 1796; (3) Ellen 
or Helena, who married John Warren, Esq., Codrum, 
and/ died without issue, 1840; and (4) Jane, who 
died unmarried in 1833. In his will, dated De- 
cember, 1778, in case of failure of issue male and 
female in his sons, he leaves the reversion of his 
estates to Morgan O'Donovan, Esq., then livino- in 
the city of Cork, and grandfather of O'Donovan, of 
Montpelier, and of The O'Donovan ofLissard, Skib- 
bereen. He was buried in the church of Myross 
where he was followed by. his second wife, Jane 
Becher, who died in 1812. 

Bawnlaghan is also styled Castlejane, a name 
conferred on it, I daresay, by ODonovan, in honour 
of his wife. 

Eichard II. Donovan, eldest son of the last men-, 
tioned, succeeded his father. He was born about 1 764, 
and in 1800 married Emma Anne Powell, a "Welsh 
lady. He had no children ; he was a colonel in the 
Enniskillen Dragoons, and afterwards a general in 
the English service ; he was an intimate acquaint- 
ance of the Prince Eegent, and saved the life of his 
Highness the Duke of York during the retreat of 
the English army from Holland, O'Donovan died 
in 1829, and with him became extinct the senior 
branch of the O'Donovan family, viz " The 


164 Sketches in Carlery, 

O'Donovan of Castledonovan and Bawnlaghan 
According to his father's will, the property should 
have reverted to O'Donovan, Montpelier ; however, 
he managed to~ upset the will some time hefore his 
own death by " levying fines and suffering a recovery" 
of the property, which he then willed to his wife, 
Emma Anne Powell, who died in 1832, after having 
willed the remnant of the ancient estate to her 
brother, Major Powell, one of whose sons now enjoys 
its possession. 

The following are the names of the lands belong- 
ing to General O'Donovan at the time of his death, 
in 1829 ; they constitute a very small portion of the 
original territory of Clancahill: 1, Bawnlaghan; 
2, Coolebin ; 3, Islands ; 4, Clontaff ; 5, Kilgleeny; 
6, Curraghalicky ; 7, Curryglass; 8, The Pike; 
9, Coomatollin. 

About a mile to the south of Bawnlaghan, when 
we reach the summit of the hill on the Myross road, 
we observe a small fragment of an ancient castle in 
an adjoining field on our left hand side ; it is all 
that is left of Castle Ire, or as it was originally 
styled Ivor. The fragment which remains is formed 
by a small portion of the north and west walls of 
the castle tower, the rest having fallen down long 
ao-o. It forms a prominent object when viewed from 
near Lough Cluhir, reminding a person of one of 
these ancient pillar-stones which are still abundant 
in some parts of Ireland. Portions of the foundation 
built on the solid rock may also be observed. This 
castle occupied a very commanding position, over- 
hanging a narrow gorge, overlooking the entire 
peninsula between itself and the coast, and embracing 
within the range of vision an extensive sweep of 
horizon out to sea. It must evidently have served 

Sketches in Carbery. 


the purpose of a -watch-tower, as we learn that the 
builder of Castle Ivor was an extensive trader. 

According to John Collins, Castle Ivor -was built 
in the year 1251, by Ivor Donovan (a Dano-Celtic 
name), second son of Cathal, who was son of Crom, 
the progenitor of the O'Donovan family. It re- 
mained in the possession of his descendants until the 
middle of the 16th century, when they were dis- 
possessed by Donnell Na-Gcroiceann, the chieftain 
of the senior branch. Collins tells us the following 
legend : — 

" Ivor was a celebrated trader, and is now regarded 
as a magician in the wild traditions of the peasantry 
of the district, who believe he is enchanted in a lake 
called Lough Cluhir, situated near Castle Ivor, in 
the townland of Listarkin, and that his magical 
ship is seen every seventh year, with all her courses 
set and colours flying, majestically floating on the 
surface of that lake. I have seen one person, in par- 
ticular, testify by oath that he had seen this extra- 
ordinary phenomenon in the year 1778." 

"He should have added," says O'Donovan, "that 
this ship was said to have appeared immediately after 
the death of Daniel O'Donovan, of Bawnlahan, Esq., 
the representative of Donell Na-Gcroiceann, the ex- 
tirpator of the race of Ivor." 

The ruins of Castle Ivor, insignificant-looking as 
they are, must be viewed with the greatest interest, 
when we consider that the lengthened period of six 
centuries has elapsed since the foundations of a castle 
so venerable by its age were first laid by Ivor. 
"What changes in the fortunes of the world have 
occurred since then ! — conquests, sieges, battles, by 
land and sea. How many generations of mankind 
have passed away after filling up the niche in time 

166 Sketches in CarbertJ. ' 

allotted to them by destiny, and still that little 
ruined fragment remains, outliving the storm, like 
the debris of a^ shipwrecked vessel, to prove that - 
something tangible, and tenanted by human beings : 
had once existed. • 

John Collins, of Myross, whose name we have 
often quoted already, was a man gifted with natural 
qualities of a high poetical character, which, had 
they been matured by art, or had he lived under 
more favourable circumstances, might probably have 
placed his name high on the roll of poets. How- 
ever, as we learn from the records of his life, he had 
to devote the greater part of his days to the drudgery 
inseparable from the office of a village schoolmaster, 
in order to support a wife and large family. The 
opportunities which university education, spare 
time, and command of money, give to others to cul- 
tivate the mind were wanting in his case, as, being 
thrown upon his own resources, he had to educate 
himself m a great measure, and at the same time 
procure a livelihood. 

O'Donovan styles him the last Irish scholar, his- 
toriographer, and poet of Carbery, and the name by 
which he was popularly known through the South 
of Ireland was " The Silver Tongue of Munster." 
Collins was born about the year 1754, at Kilmeen, 
to the north of Clonakilty ; his parents were of the 
tanning class; he was descended from the O'Cullanes 
(Anglicised into Collins ), an Irish sept, who formerly 
occupied Castle Lyons, and the district around it. 
Ine only property he inherited, like the majority of 
his countrymen, lay in the gifts which nature had 
bestowed on him— a fluent tongue, a ready wit, and 
a sound constitution. He was destined at first for 
the priesthood, but did not long pursue his studies 



Sketches in Carbery. lQf 

in that line, having no vocation for a clerical life. 
He ultimately during his rambles took up his resi- 
dence in Myross, where he taught school for a con- 
siderable period, and in which place he composed 
several beautiful poems in the Irish language, 
amongst others — "The Buachaill JBawn," "An Ode 
on Timoleague Abbey," very much admired (trans- 
lated by Ferguson), and a translation in Irish of 
that charming poem of Campbell's, " The Exile of 
Erin," which Irish scholars say excels the original. 

The following is a translation of a portion of the 
" Buachaill Bawn," by Erionnache. One verse only 
is given, merely to convey some idea, although a faint 
one, of Collins's poetry. Irish poems do not admit 
well as a rule of being translated into English, both 
languages being so dissimilar in sound, mode of ex- 
pression, &c. : — 


" With crimson gleaming the dawn rose, beaming 

On branching oaks nigh the golden shore, 

Above me rustled their leaves, and dreaming, 

Methought a nymph rose the blue -waves o'er ; 
Her brow was brighter than stars that light our 

Dim, dewy earth ere the summer dawn, 
But she spoke in mourning : ' My heart of sorrow 
Ne'er brings a morrow, Mo Buachaill Bawn !' " 

Some of Collins's manuscripts fell into the posses* 
sion of a Mr. 0' Grady, of Dublin. They were 
written about 1774, and beside his poems contained 
a history of Ireland, which was left in an unfinished 
state. Collins died at Skibbereen, in the year 1816, 
at the age of 64 years. 

Daniel Mac Carthy (GHas), author of " The Life 
and Letters of Florence Mao Carthy Mor," and " The 

168 Sketches in Carter y. 

Mac Carthys of Grleana Crohn," has "written a brief 
account of John Collins in the latter work. He also 
possesses the original manuscript of Collins relating 
to the genealogy of the Mac Carthys. The original 
manuscript copy by Collins, consisting of a brief 
condensed " History of Ancient Ireland," and " The 
Pedigree of the O'Donovans of Clancahill" is 
possessed by Mr. Philip O'Donovan, of Union Hall, 

At the south-east corner of Myross, close to the 
mouth of Grlandore Harbour, is situated the town- 
land of Carigilihy. Previous to 1846 a thriving 
hamlet of the same name existed here, containing a 
population of about 700 persons, who gained a liveli- 
hood chiefly by fishing and trading along the coast. 
"When the gaunt and grim spectre of famine passed over 
the land, carrying death and desolation on its blight- 
ing track into many a prosperous and happy home- 
stead, the ravages of disease and hunger extended 
themselves to this remote hamlet too. Most of 
those who weathered the storm emigrated to America, 
and at present we only observe ruined habitations 
and a scanty population, where in former times a 
numerous colony of people resided. 

About forty years ago, when the duties on im- 
ported goods were very heavy, smuggling was ex- 
tensively practised along the south-western coast of 
Ireland, which, from its geographical position and 
the many inlets of the sea it contains, was most 
accessible to vessels sailing from the coasts of France, 
Portugal and Spain, -with contraband cargo on board. 
In the year 1830 a cargo of brandy was run across 
from France to Carrigilihy. Intimation, however, 
had been given to the custom-house officers and 
coastguards beforehand, and they were continually 

Sketches in Carbery. lgj) 

on the alert in order to intercept the smugglers, 
who, coming off the place" and being afraid to land, 
sank their brandy casks near the coast, and buoyed 
them up so that they might raise them again at the 
first favourable opportunity. One night, however 
a violent storm came on, the lashings of the casks 
were rent asunder, and the casks themselves floating 
to the surface were driven ashore by the wind and 
waves. "When morning broke the whole population 
of Carigilihy turned out, and rushing down to the 
strand made a brisk attack on the casks, whose sides 
they soon broached, and whose contents they quickly 
demolished. The old Cognac, however, proved a 
formidable foe, and long before evening came on 
the majority of the brandy-drinkers were stretched 
senseless on the sand, and two unfortunate men 
died from taking an over-dose of the brandy. 

A rich and ancient monastery at one time flourished 
in Carrigilihy ; it was called the Abbey Be Sancto 
Mauro, or Be Fonte Vivo (of the Clear Spring). The 
latter name it derived from a clear, limpid spring 
which welled up out of the rock near the site of the 
old abbey. 

I have already alluded in one of the opening 
chapters in brief terms to this ancient and important 
abbey. "In the year 1519 the abbot, Johnlmurily, 
was made Bishop of Boss." (Monast. Hibeniic.) It 
was occupied by monks of the Cistercian Order, who 
came there from the more ancient and celebrated 
Abbey of Baltinglass in the county "Wicklow. 

Some authorities say that Be Sancto Mauro was 
situated at Abbey Mahon, near Timoleague, but Smith 
and others contradict this assertion, and fix the locality 
as at Carrigilihy, and apparently on better grounds. 
Smith states that in his time, that is about 100 years 


Sketches in Carteri/. 

ago, " The foundations of extensive ruins, together 
with a large cemetery, with great quantities of 
human hones, "were discovered in Carrigilihy. It - 
was most probably, he says, the site of the Abbey 
De Sancto Mauro." 

The " Monasticon Hihernicon" which gives very 
reliahle information on the ancient Ecclesiastical re- 
cords of Ireland, alluding to the abbeys of the Order 
of Cistercian Monks, says : — 

" This Order had no great number of houses, yet 
it had the advantage of being one of the richest and 
most renowned in the island, not only because all 
its houses had the title of Abbeys, but also because 
this alone had more abbots, who were lords spiritual, 
and as such sat in Parliament, than all the other 
Orders together, for, of fifteen abbots, who had this 
prerogative throughout the country, thirteen were 
of the Cistercian Order. 

" In the reign of Queen Elizabeth this monastery 
and its appurtenances were granted for ever to 
Nicholas Walshe, at the annual rent of £28 6s. €>d." 

The remaining points of interest connected with 
Myross are few. Squince Island is deserving of 
note, as it has long enjoyed a reputation for pro- 
ducing herbage which has special capacities for the 
fattening of horses. The island is connected with 
the mainland by means of a causeway. Near 
Squince Strand a neat and trim-looking coastguard 
station was situated some years ago. A little to 
the south-west of this place, and built on an elevated 
position near the sea, stand the ruins of the old 
parish chapel. The four side walls of the aisle are 
standing in good preservation. Within the walls 
and in the surrounding graveyard may be seen 
several diminutive fonts of very rude and primitive 

Sketches in Carbery. 


■workmanship. Here alse is a peculiar-looking tomb, 
built of large stone slabs in the form of a truncated 
pyramid ; it was the burying-place of the O'Dono- 
vans of Bawnlahane. From this spot we get a 
good view out to sea and along the coast. Immedi- 
ately facing us, at a short' distance, we perceive 
High and Low Island; the latter was formerly 
called Arahas Island, and was occupied by a small 
cbapel, near the site of which persons from the 
mainland were buried. On Babbit's Island, near 
Squince, a holy well dedicated to St. Bridget at one 
time nourished. The country people used to congre- 
gate there on the eve of St. Bridget to offer up their 
devotions. However, some years ago a boat was 
capsized, returning late one evening from the island, 
and some people drowned. Since then the well has 
been neglected, and another well on the mainland, 
in a little sequestered nook near Squince coastguard 
station, fulfils the office of its predecessor. The sea 
near Squince runs inland for a short distance, forming 
a peculiar inlet, which ends in a cul-de-sac. It is called 
in Irish, Cuan-caech, and in English, Blind Harbour. 
Close to the beach we observe Squince House, 
formerly the seat of the O'Donovans of Squince, of the 
Clanloughlin branch, celebrated for their hospitality. 
At the mouth of Blind Harbour, in February, 
1874, an Italian barque, the "Pulcinello" was ship- 
wrecked during a terrible gale. Driven in near the 
shore by the fury of the gale, she foundered in the 
harbour. All hands were lost, with the exception of 
a young Italian boy, who had a miraculous escape. 
He was flung ashore by a wave which washed over 
the ship's deck, and before the succeeding wave 
could overtake him he contrived to scramble beyond 
the reach of the tide, holding on by the grass and 
fems. He was picked up next morning in an ex- 

172 Sketches in Carter y. 

hausted state, but was quickly restored by the kind- 
ness and care of the inhabitants of the place. 

One of the most interesting facts connected with My- 
ross is the residence there for about six months of the 
celebrated Dean Swift, during which time he dwelt at 
Eock Cottage, it is said (the residence of J. Frenoh, 
Esq.), being on a visit with a clergyman of the district^ 
the Eev. Thomas Somerville. The Dean was in the 
habit of making excursions along the coast, between 
Glandore and Baltimore, and the impressions pro- 
duced on his mind by the scenery he observed found 
expression in a Latin poem, written in hexameter 
verse, and styled " Carberiae Eupes," which he 
wrote in June, 1723. It is a curious fact that Swift 
should have preferred this poem and an epistle in 
Latin verse to Dr. Sheridan to any of his other 
writings, for although the metre is perfect, and the 
style classical, still there is nothing particularly 
brilliant in the subject matter of the poem. In the 
same way Milton preferred " Paradise Eegained" 
to " Paradise Lost," and Byron " A Paraphrase on 
Horace's Art of Poetry," a production of mediocre 
ability, to his magnificent poem " Childe Harold" 
(before the publication of the latter), the manuscript 
of which lay neglected in his trunk until his friend 
Hobhouse awaked the poet's consciousness to some 
idea of its great merits. 

The reader can judge from these facts how a 
person may be a great poet or prose writer, and still 
a very poor critic of his own works ; like the medical 
man, who can never prescribe well for himself when 
he gets sick, but requires the friendly aid of another 
to diagnose and treat his disease skilfully. 

Every incident and particular connected with the 
life of so illustrious and distinguished an. Irishman 
as Dean Swift are worthy of note and fraught with 


Sketches in Carlery, 173 

interest. We transcribe his poem in part, with, the 
translation of it by Dr. Dunkin : — 


" Ecce ! ingens fragmens scopuli, quod vertice sumjno, 
Desuper impendet, nullo fundarhine nixum, 
Decidit in fluctus : maria undique et undique gaxa 
Horrisono stridore tonant, et ad jethera murmur 
Erigitur ; trepidatque ; suis Neptunus in undis. 
Nam longa venti rabie, atque ; aspergine crebrjl 
iEquorei laticis, specuB ima" rupe cavatur: 
Jam f ultura ruit, jam summa cacumina nutant ; 
Jam cadit in proeceps moles, et verberat undas 
Attonitus credas, bine dejecisse tonantem 
Montibus impositos montes, et Pelion altum 
In capita anguipedum coelo jaculasse gigantum. 

Stepe etiam spelunca immani aperitur hiatu 
Exesa 6 scopulis, et utrinque foramina pandit, 
Hinc atque bine a ponto ad pontum pervia Phcebo." 

(Translated by Dunkin.) 
" Lo ! from tbe top of yonder cliff, that shrouds 
Its airy head amid the azure clouds, 
Hangs a huge fragment ; destitute of props, 
Prone on the waves, the rocky ruin drops ! ■ 
With hoarse rebuff the swelling seas rebound, 
From shore to shore the rocks return the sound : 
The dreadful murmur heav'ns high convex cleaves, 
And Neptune shrinks beneath his subject waves ; 
For long the whirling w'nds and beating tides 
Had scooped a hole into its nether sides. 
Now yields the base, the summits nod, now urge 
Their headlong course, and lash the sounding surge. 
Not louder noise could shake the guilty world 
When Jove heap'd mountains upon mountains hurl'd; 
Betorting Pelion from his dread abode, 
To crush earth's rebel sons beneath the load. 

Oft too with hideous yawn the caverns wide 
Present an orifice on either side, 
A dismal orifice* from sea to sea, 
Extended, pervious to the god of day." 


• This refers to a cave, near Carrigilihy Strand, where Dean Swift used to 
embark. It forms a natural archway, hollowed out of the rank, and communi- 
cating with the sea by two separate orifices, some distance apart. When the 
tide is favourable * boat can be rowed through from one mouth to the other. 

174 Sketches in Carlery, 

There is one matter of particular interest connected 
with Myross which is so well worthy of record that 
we cannot pass it hy casually, hut must enter at 
some length into its description. About half-a-mile 
up Grlandore Harbour the sea takes a .bend west- 
ward, at the Myross side, forming .a small creek at 
the extremity of which is situated the village of 
Union Hall, in a snug, secluded nook. Forty-six 
years ago Union Hall was a great centre of attrac- 
tion to sightseers and scientific persons from various 
parts of the South of Ireland, it being the habitat of 
what many regarded as a supernatural phenomenon, 
and what were familiarly known as the " Grlandoro 
Lights" • {MiraUKa Glandoriana), or Harrington's 

It appears that in the year 1832, a poor labouring 
man named Thomas Harrington, residing in the 
parish of Myross, occupied a small cabin close to the 
sea-side, at the foot of a hill called Ardagh, which is 
in the immediate vicinity of Union Hall. He was 
a man of a delicate constitution ; exposure to hard- 
ship, cold, and damp brought on an attack ^f con- 
sumption, aud for sisSyears, from 1832 to 1838, he 
lingered in a dying state, his health being gradually 
undermined by the slow, insidious, but certainly 
fatal ravages of that most incurable disease .- 

During this period strange lights of a ghastly 
hue, and assuming the most varied forms, were ob- 
served from time to time within the walls of the 
cabin and over the body of the sick man. The 
report of this strange occurrence soon travelled far 
and wide, and from various parts of the county 
persons of all ranks of society, male and female, 
assembled to witness Harrington's Lights. Some 
observed nothing, some saw faint glimmerings, 

Sketches in Carbery. 175 

whilst others discovered brilliant stars, meteors 
flitting about from wall to wall, balls of fire, &c. 
The hands of persons raised over the body of the 
sick man sometimes presented a luminous appear- 
ance to lookers on in the surrounding darkness. 
Sceptical observers, who distinguished nothing, be- 
lieved they were the result of chicanery and leger- 
demain (which however were never detected), which 
misled the judgment and excited the imagination of 
speculative philosophers and nervous old ladies, as 
ignes-fatui in the wastes are said to beguile the 
steps of unwary travellers. Those with a strong 
religious tendency ascribed the lights to superhuman 
agency, and looked on them as miraoulous and 
nothing less. 

Persons of a very scientific turn were confident 
that all could be explained by chemical or electrical 
causes, and that the fons et origo were situated in 
the atmosphere, or in the soil on which the cabin 
was built. It is a well-known fact that ignes-fatui 
(Will-o'-the-wisps) are seen at times ' in boggy, 
marshy ground, and in the vicinity of graveyards ; 
they are supposed to be qaused by phosphureted * 
hydrogen escaping from the soil, the result of animal 
and vegetable decay. Opposed to this theory in 
Harrington's case was the fact that, though both 
soil and atmosphere in the neighbourhood of the 
cabin were closely examined and explored, nothing 
of a similar nature to what took, place in the sick 
chamber could be observed. 

"We now come to the final explanation of these 
strange lights, which is generally received as the 
most correct one. Physiologists and pathologists 
are aware from experiments and actual observations 
that in certain diseased states of the system, engen- 

176 Sketches in Carbery. 

dered by hereditary taint or other causes, such as 
consumption and allied diseases, great wasting of 
the fatty tissues and loss of the phosphates take 
place. At the same time the supply of oxygen 
being deficient, owing to the imperfect manner in' 
which the lungs perform their functions, the phos- 
phorus escapes fromthe body under peculiar oiroum-' 
stances without being oxidized, in the form of 
phosphureted hydrogen, through the lungs and 
skin. Now phosphureted hydrogen has the peculiar 
property of instantly inflaming when it comes iu 
contact with the air, and it is in this way we can 
explain how, in exceptional cases, luminous exha- 
lations are sometimes (but very rarely) emitted from 
the human body during life. 

It is strange, nevertheless, that such phenomena 
are not more frequently observed, as the conditions 
for their existence must prevail in a great number of 
cases, according to the theory which has been just 
alluded to. Cases like Harrington's, however, are 
extremely rare, and only casually taken notice of in 
most works on physiology. "We give the following 
extracts from the large work on human physiology, 
by Dr. Carpenter, one of the most eminent English 
physiologists of modern times. It refers to the sub- 
ject we are now discussing, viz., the emanation of 
light under exceptional conditions from the human 
body during life : — , 

"Three cases are recorded by Sir H. Marsh in which an evo- 
lution of lights took place from the living body; all the subject* 
of these cases, however, were in the last stage of phthisis, and it 
can scarcely be doubted that here, as in other diseases of exhaus- 
tion, incipient disintegration was taking place during the latter 
periods of life. The light in each case is described as playing 
around the face, but not as directly proceeding from the surface, 


Sketches in Carbery. 177 

and in one of those instances, which was recorded by Dr. D. 
Donovan (Dublin Medical Press, January 15th, 1840), not 
only was the luminous appearance perceptible over the head of 
the patient's bed, but luminous vapours passed in streams 
through the apartment. It can scarcely be doubted that it 
was here the breath which contained the' luminous compound, 
more especially as it was observed in one of those cases to have 
a very peculiar smell, and the probability that the luminosity 
was due to the presence of phosphorus, in progress of slow oxi- 
dation, is greatly increased by the fact already referred to, that 
the injection of phosphureted oil into the blood-vessels fives 

rise to a similar appearance On the whole, then, 

we may conclude ; the occasional evolution of light from the 
human subject to be the consequence (when not au electrical 
phenonemon) of the production of a phosphorescent compound, 
at the expense of the disintegrating tissues, which compound 
passes off through one of the ordinary channels of excretion." 

I transcribe the following two letters, which were 
written on Harrington's Lights, one by a personal 
observer, the other by a literary writer of the period, 
and which must, therefore, possess more direct inte- 
rest, than any descriptive account, which is the result 
of hearsay evidence and report, after a lengthened 
space of time. The first is from the pen of a writer 
for the Neio Monthly Magazine, a periodical in exist- 
ence thirty years ago : — I 

" It was our wish to have gone from Bantry to Skibbereen 
to investigate the marvellous appearances in its neighbourhood, 
about which people were talking through the whole south of 
Ireland, but circumstances would not -permit it. Many well* 
informed people who had visited the scene had spoken of it in 
terms that kindled curiosity. All allowed — the ladies in par- 
ticular — that there was a mystery about it; many were 
rersuaded there was something supernatural. In a cottage, 
about, two miles from Skibbereen, lived a man of the name of 
Harrington, poor, yet intelligent, and believed to be very pious; 
the situation of his home was singularly desolate, on a low, 
dreary beach, the sea in front, and a marshy swamp behind ; 
its interior was poor, and, like other Irish cabins, without win- 


i78 Sketches in Carbery. 

dows ; two rooms, with a damp, earthen floor, a cheerless home ' 
even in health and strength, but in disease and helplessness the 
cloud of the valley would be sweeter, and the head would ache 
. no more. • . 

" Three years since Harrington felt very ill, and was confined 
wholly to his bed, yet able to read and converse ; his books 
wholly religious ; his only companion and attendant was his 
mother. A few months afterwards lights began to be visible in 
the cottage; the rumour of them soon attracted people from 
Skibbereen to the spot, whose report induced others. from a 
greater distance, from Bantry, Cork, and tats interior, gradually 
to come and examine for . themselves. It seems that all were 
struck, and none satisfied with what they saw. Their appear- 
ance was like a faint moonlight, that fell on the wall of the 
chamber ; at times it was a bright light that covered the whole 
wall or moved in portions up and down it, and often deepened 
into a yellow tint. 

"Among the numerous visitors were ministers, men of science, 
families from their country seats, fox-hunters, and devotees, 
carriages, pedestrians, and horsemen. It was called at last the 
Skibbereen lights, and baffled every attempt of the clever and 
credulous to discover fraud or imposture. In the inner room, 
on a low bed, beside the wall, destitute of every comfort, lay 
the desolate Harrington, in the calm light of whose eye, and, in 
the composure of whose tone there was evidently no pain of 
conscience or depravity of heart. He said he was happy night 
and day though his suffering was great. He never solicited 
help or charity. The little he possessed seemed to be sufficient 
for his wants, and he did not seem to care for more. A -few of 
his visitors sometimes left a trifle behind them, but the greater 
part gave nothing. He was so emaciated that it seemed as if 
life could not long remain in such a frame ; the arm was but 
skin and bone, and after nearly a year had passed, those who 
saw him again were surprised to perceive the same emaciation. 
He was about thirty-five, and passed his time in reading and . 

prayer, chiefly, it was said, in the latter 

'• A lady, of literary powers and success, related to us while at 
her house, a visit of some days which she had paid to this scene. 
' To the cottage she went often, and saw again and again the 
lights, and observed them keenly and coolly, but could not trace 
or imagine the cause of their startling appearance ; they fell 
suddenly on the wall always of the sick man's room, they flashed 
brightly before the eye, and moved slowly, or mantled the side 

.Sketches in Carbery. If 9 

of the wall in a steady light, remaining for some minutes, or 
passing away as suddenly its tbey came ; there was no crevice 
or aperture in the chamber through which light could enter ; 
there was a fireplace and chimney, but no fire was ever lighted 
whilst the visitors were there, and clothes were hung over the 
door, and one or two places in the wall, at the wish of those 
who came, that no gleam could enter, so that on these 
occasions the dark chamber was darkened yet more ; the con- 
fined floor was often covered with visitors, handsomely-dressed 
women, and the gay, the serious, and the wealthy were there, 
and many a face was pale, as if touched by the unearthly li<rht, 
and every voice was hushed ; the dying man, as he seemed to 
all, was before them, in whose skeleton hand was the mystery, 
true or false, of this extraordinary appearance. They waited 
on some occasions long in suspense, at others expectation was 
quickly gratified.' 

" A gentleman, whom we know, and who was several times 
on the spot, said that he saw them once at noon. The day is 
not the usual time of their appearance, but the evening and 
night. There is no noise or confusion about the house ; no 
Irish sounds of wonder, wail or alarm ; there is a quietness and 
decency about the manners and demeanour of the people; their 
conduct is closely observed, and at these times, when the mother 
is generally in the chamber, with an inquisitorial exactness. 

" There is a cabin at no great distance from the home of 
Harrington, where it was suspected at first that some collusion 
might be carried on; in this cabin, therefore, a person was 
stationed to detect any suspicious signs, but there were none. 
The roof also of the sick man's cottage was carefully examined, 
and no clue to artifice or hypocrisy was found. So many intel- 
ligent, educated, and watchful observers could not thus be 
deceived; such, at least, was their own opinion. It was con- 
jectured that from the desolate and marshy places behind the 
house some vapour or miasma might be the cause. On exami- 
nation this did not appear to be possible. 

"Among the visitors was one of considerable eminence in the 
scientific world, whose calm and philosophic spirit of investiga- 
tion could not discover the cause of the celebrated 'Skibbereen 
Lights,' which we saw more than once. It was a fit situation 
for the wonderful and wild : the lone cottage of the friendless 
man on a dreary shore, on which is the ceaseless moan of the 
sea, and half the year, of the wild winds, and behind is a sullen 
marsh. Many who have come here in the winter season, of 


180 Sketches in Carbery. 

even on a dull cloudy day have felt the influence of the scene. ' 
If there be deception so long and still kept up, there must be 
exquisite art and management in the actors: rarely has a spot 
so desolate and reft of human agency been chosen wherein to ' 
deceive mankind. 

" The delusion is then as masterly as that of Mesmer, and if 
the feebleness of the agents be considered it is more successfully, 
maintained. The simplicity of the machinery, which requires 
no aid from the imaginations, or sympathies of the observers, 
gives this marvellous appearance on the desert shore the advan- 
tage over each German pretension. Seeing is believing. One 
sense only is exercised, and that the most difficult to be inis«. 
taken, in so confined a space — the waves in front — the marsh 
behind — no fire or light within — the only shadow that falls is 
that of the passing cloud." 

The nest letter is from Dr. Donovan, senior, who 
was medical attendant upon Harrington : — , 


" STdbbereen, November Wi, 1839. 

"In the description of Harrington's Lights by the writer for 
the JS'ew Monthly Magazine, there are many inaccuracies. 
Harrington's house was not situated in a tenely and desolate 
spot, but in a populous and neat village, on the harbour of 
Glandore, one of the most beautiful and picturesque spots on ' 
the southern coast of Ireland, and instead of the dreary marsh 
to the rere, there was a dry, precipitous, and lofty hill. I will 
not notice any more of the errors of the writer, but shall proceed 
to detail the real circumstances. 

" Quorum pars Magna Fid. 

" I was sent for in December, 1828, to see the subject of this 
sketch. He had been under the care of my predecessor, and 
had been entered in the dispensary book as a phthisical patient. 
, , . . . He was under my care for about five years, 
during which time, strange to say, his symptoms continued 
stationary, and I had discontinued my attendance for about two 
years, when the report became general that mysterious lights 
were seen in his cabin. 

" The subject attracted a great deal of attention, some attn 

Sketches in Carbery. 


buting the lights to the miraculous interposition of Heaven, 
others to the practice of the- black art. To myself they were 
represented by one gentleman as a beacon that would guide 
me securely into the harbour of truth, by another as an ignis 
fatuus that would lead me into the regions of demonism and 
necromancy. Not regarding these views- as offering any expla- 
nation of the mystery, I determined to subject the matter to 
the ordeal of my own senses, and for this purpose visited the 
cabin for fourteen nights, and for three nights only did I witness 
anythirig unusual ; once I perceived a luminous fog resembling 
the aurora borealis ; twice I saw scintillations like the sparkling 
phosphorescence sometimes exhibited by the sea infusoria. At 
the time the appearances were so faint as not to enable me to 
say with any degree of certainty whether they proceeded from 
luminous bodies, or were the mere freaks of fancy, others 
declared that they saw brilliant stars, blazing suns, pillars of 
fire, &c. &c. 

"This discrepancy led many to attribute these igneous won- 
ders to supernatural agency, and the splendour with which they 
were seen was regarded as a test of the worthiness of the beholder. 
I would not consider this opinion deserving of a serious refuta- 
tion, were it not that it was entertained by many well-educated 
and otherwise intelligent individuals, and under these circum- 
stances I beg to be excused for digressing into the province of 
the divine to discuss the question of their miraculous origin. 

"To constitute a miracle there must be an interruption of the 
ordinary laws of nature, but the lights in question were obedient 
to the laws by which luminous bodies are governed, viz., that 
the fainter are eclipsed by the more brilliant, as to render them 

visible it was necessary to extinguish candles, &c 

" I at first thought some legerdemain had been practised, but 
upon reflection found that I was wrong. In the first place it is 
improbable that this dying man, who had neither hopes of 
living, nor any wish to live, would be guilty of fraud. Secondly, 
the respectability and integrity of those in immediate com- 
munication with him removed all idea of collusion. Lastly, 
from the close scrutiny I have made I can with certainty say 
no jugglery was either employed or attempted. Having met 
the foregoing reasons with a direct negative, I come now to 
consider those causes, among which an explanation of the phe- 
nomenon in question is, I believe, to be found, and these I shall 
arrange under the following heads ; — 

182 Sketches in Carbery. 

"Excitement of the Imagination— Luminous Exhalations from " f 
the Soil—Phosphorescence of the Retina— Evolution of Light from 
the Body of the Patient. ■ - : 

"Excitement of the Imagination. — There' was certainly on 
some occasions at the scene of these lights everything calculated 
to work upon the imagination. The darkness of the cabin, the 
hollow, sepulchral voice of the dying man, and the enthusiastic : 
manner of the devotees who sat at his bedside, were likely to , 
make a deep impression on the mind, and had, I have no doubt, 
the effect of magnifying the matter to the minds of some, but ' 
these excitants were not sufficiently strong to make me believe 
that I saw light where it was not, and, moreover, on two of the 
nights when I saw these appearances, there was an absence of 
thecauses that I have enumerated as likely to excite the imagi- 
nation. . . ° J 

" Luminous Exhalations from the Soil are out of the question. 
In -the same locality there were several other houses, and yet in 
none_ of them was a similar phenomenon ever seen, nor in this', 
was it ever witnessed since or before. 

" Phosphorescence of the Eetina. —This property of the optic 
nerve, to which Sir David Brewster particularly refers (optical 
illusions) is notjufficient to account for the phenomenon in 
question. He states that it is produced by pressure on the eye- 
ball. I have frequently since forcibly compressed my eyes with I 
the muscles as strong as I could, and yet have not been able to 
create such appearances as those that I have witnessed at Har- 
rington's ; and if they were attributable to this cause they should 
seem more vivid immediately after the candles were extinguished ■ 
than in some time after which was not the case. 

"Evolution of Light from the Body of the Sick Man.— In this 
I believe we have an explanation of the mystery. I am of 
opinion that the appearances which I witnessed were dependent 
on the presence of phosphorescent matter in the expiratory and 
perspiratory secretions. The property which phosphureted- 
hydrogen has of undergoing spontaneous combustion when, 
brought in contact with atmospheric air is well known, and as 
the components of which this is made up exist in abundance in 
the human body, it is not outstretching the bounds of proba- 
bility to suppose^ that it is sometimes generated in the living 
system. Dr. Apjohn believes that it is sometimes the product 
of diseased action. Fodere states that he has witnessed in the 
Jiving body the morbid secretion of a gas, similar in its properties ; 

Sketches in Carbery. 


to that which covers cemeteries, and which, by the spontaneous 
production of flame, forms the ignisfatuus, so frequently observed 
in those localities. The spontaneous combustion of the human 
body is now generally admitted, and this constitutes a much 
more remarkable phenomenon than the one we have been con- 
sidering, as the morbid secretions in' this case must consist of. 
much more inflammable materials than are merely necessary for 
the production of light. 

" Tiedman attributes the phosphorescence of decayed wood to 
an eminently combustible combination of carbon, hydrogen and 
oxygen, and as all these simple substances exist in abundance 
in the human body their combination may, under peculiar cir- 
cumstances, take place, and produce phosphorescent emanations. 
To one or two of these causes I attribute the evolution of light 
from the body of my patient. But it may be argued, if lumi- 
nous exhalations really took place from the body of this man, as 
proceeding from fixed causes, that their operation would be con- 
stant and their effect uniform. I do not think that their operation 
would be constant, as they would be modified by the state of the 
atmosphere, as to electricity, moisture, &c, and as to the uni- 
formity of their action we must take into consideration the differ- 
ences in the mental" constitutions of those who saw them. The 
faint appearances which were really seen by men of dispassionate 
minds were regarded as inere freaks of fancy, whilst they were 
magnified into brilliant orbs and resplendent meteors by the 
ardent and enthusiastic, who embodied in phantasms their own 
hopes and fears, and beheld, in the creations of their imagina- 
tions, all the realities of direct vision," 

1S4 Sketches in Carbety, 


Glandore, origin of the name— Fairy legend about the Princess 
Cleena — Carraic Cleena — Eemarks on both by Drs. Todd and 

Joyce, M.E.I. A. — Glandore Castle — The Fisheries Spirited 

exertions of James Eedmond Barry, Esq. — Poem on Glandore— 
Capture of a whale— Myross House— The Leap— Smith's account 

of the dangerous passage across the ravine — Ballinlough Lis-an- 

Earla and the legend of Tir-na-nOgue — Loughdrine, and the 
floating islands— Fairs, faction fights, and festivities — Philosopher' 
Thompson and the co-operative communities — Scenery between 
Eoss and Glandore — Pouladav, curious formation — Ballyverine 
House, or Coppinger's Court, and a short sketch of Sir Walter 
Coppinger— Benduff Castle, its history— The Morrises— Penn, &c. 

Glandore Harbour is decidedly one of the most 
picturesque inlets of the sea along our southern' 
coast. "We do not observe there scenery upon a 
magnificent or imposing scale, such as we witness in 
Killarney's far-famed lakes, or amidst the Highlands 
of Scotland, or along the wild coasts of Norway ; we 
have no rich valleys or fertile plains in the neigh- 
bourhood; nevertheless, we perceive a charming 
variety and harmonious arrangement of rock and 
water, of hill and dale, which bestow upon this 
favoured locality some secret spell wherewith to bind 
the observer to the spot, and create feelings of plea- 
sure and delight in the most careless spectator, as 
well as in the most ardent lover of nature. 

The ancient name of Glandore was Cuan Dor, or 
more properly, according to the local Irish pronun- 
ciation, "Cuan Dair," which would signify The 
Harbour of the Oak, which tree was in former times 


Sketches in Carboy. 185 

so abundant throughout Ireland, and no doubt 
nourished luxuriantly in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of Glandore, where it still remains partly rooted 
to the soil. Cuan Dor, according to Dr. Todd, who 
is a great authority, means the golden harbour : the 
pronunciation by the resident population does not 
confirm this meaning. 


To pass from fact to fiction, from everyday life 
to the misty regions of romance and legendary lore, 
I beg to introduce to the reader's notice one of the 
many fairy legends which, although of an unreal 
nature, has, however, imparted a considerable share 
of notoriety and fame to the name of Glandore. 
Cliodhna (Cleena), the queen of the fairies of South 
Munster, is said to have been chained to a rock near 
Glandore harbour ._ Her deeds of supernatural pOwer 
and the fairy spells she exercised over mortals have 
been celebrated from time immemorial in the ancient 
manuscripts of the county, and in the traditionary 
stories of the peasantry. In a work of the late Dr. 
Todd, of Trinity College, entitled " The War of the 
Gaedhill against the Gaill ; or, Invasions of Ireland 
by the Danes and other Norsemen," is the following 
passage: — "During Brian Boru's administration 
he banished and enslaved the foreigners, and rescued 
the country from oppression. A lone woman might 
have walked in safety from Torach,.now Tory Island, 
off the north coast of Donegal, to Cliodhna, a rock 
in the harbour of Glandore, i. e., through tbe whole 
length of Ireland, carrying a ring of gold on a horse 
rod." Referring to Cuan Dor, he remarks : — " In 
this bay is the rock called Cliodhna's, upon which 

186 _ Sketches in Carlery?- 

beats a wave called Tonn Cliodhna (Tun Cleena) 
Cliodhna's wave is said to utter a plaintive sound'? 
when a monarch of the south of Ireland dies."' 
Cliodhna was the name of a princess in an ancient 
Irish legend — 

" 'Twas said whene'er a monarch dropped 
Off Munster's roll of fame, 
From the wave which Carraic Cleena stopped, 
A wail of sorrow came." , " 

In another part of the work is the following trans- 
lation from an ancient Irish manuscript :—" After : 
the banishment of the foreigners out of Erinn, and 
after Erinn was reduced to a state of peace, a lone 
woman came from Torach, in the north of Erinn,' 
carrying a ring of gold on a horse-rod,- and she was 
neither robbed nor insulted, whereupon the poet 


" From Torach to pleasant Cliodhna, 

And carrying with her a ring of gold, 
In the time of Brian, of the bright side, fearless, 
A lone woman made the circuit of Erin." . 

This was the original poem, which roused the magio • 
power of song in the soul of Ireland's most illustrious 
poet, and suggested to him the idea of that most 
beautiful Irish melody : 

" Eich and rare were the gems she wore." 

"Warner, in his " History of Ireland," Vol; i., 
Book x., alluding to this subject, tells us the anec- 
dote as follows : — 

" The people were inspired with such a sense of 
honour, virtue, and religion, by the great example 
of Brian, and by his excellent administration, that, 
as a proof of it, we are informed that a young lady,- 

Sketches in Carhery. 187 

of great beauty, adorned with jewels and a costly 
dress, undertook a journey alone from one end of 
the kingdom to another, with a wand only in her 
hand, at the top of which was a ring of exceeding- 
great value, and such an impression had the laws 
and government of this monarch made on the minds 
of all the people that no attempt was made on her 
honour, nor was she robbed of her clothes or 

In Corca Laidhe the following remarks are made 
regarding Carraic Cliodhna : — 

"Between Ross Bay and the Galley Head, a 
strand is situated called Traigh Claine (the slop- 
ing strand), off which standing in the water 
at a short distance from the beach is a rock 
called Carraic Cliodhna." Such being the case, 
it is about four miles to the east of Glandore Har- 

It was also called the " Bock," par excellence, to 
distinguish it from other rocks in the vicinity, which 
were of less note and importance. The veritable 
Carraic Cliodhna, answering to the above descrip- 
tion, is pointed out by the peasantry to any person 
who chooses to make inquiries. It is immediately 
underneath Castle Freke, near the water's edge, off 
the sloping strand, and resembles in the dis- 
tance the dark-looking hull of an iron-clad man of 
war. : 

When the surf breaks on this rock, the contrast is 
very marked between the dark hue of Carraic 
Cliodhna, and the white-crested waves, and pro- 
duces a striking effect. 

Before bringing to a close my remarks on the 
renowned fairy queen, or banshee, and her sea- 
girt prison, it will prove interesting to introduce the 

188 Sketches in Carbery. 

following extract from Dr. Joyce's work," "Irish. 
Names of Places " : — 

"Besides the celebrated fairy haunts mentioned 
at page 170, there are several other places in diffe-< 
rent parts of Ireland, presided over, each by its own i 
guardian spirit, and among them several female 
fairies or banshees. Some of these are very famous 
and though belonging to particular places, are cele- 
brated by the bards over the whole of Ireland." 
Cloidhna (Cleena) is the potent banshee that rules 
as queen over the fairies of south Munster ; and yon 
will hear innumerable stories among the peasantry 
of the exercise of her powerful spells. Edward Walsh. 
makes his lover of 'O'Donovan's Daughter' thus 
express himself: — 

" ' God grant 'tis no fay from Knockfierna that woos me, 
God grant 'tis not Cleena the queen that pursues me, 
That my soul, lost and lone, has no witchery wrought her. 
While I dream of dark groves and O'Donovan's daughter. 

" In the ' Dinnsenchus' there is an ancient poetical 
love story, of which Cleena is the heroine, wherein , 
it is related that she was a foreigner, and that she 
was drowned in the harbour of Giandore, near Skib- 
bereen, in Cork. In this harbour the sea at certain 
times utters a very peculiar, deep, hollow, and melan- 
choly roar among the caverns of the cliffs, and this 
surge has been from time immemorial called .Tonn- 
Cleena (Cleena's wave). Cleena had her palace in 
the heart of a great rock, situated about five miles 
south south-west from Mallow. It is still well 
known by the name of Carrig-Cleena, and it has 
given name to two townlands." 

Two castles formerly flourished at Giandore. 
They have been replaced now to a great extent by 

Sketches in Carbefy. 


buildings of a more modern date. The one near the 
harbour's mouth was called Kilfinnan. The other 
situated near the village of Glandore, and at present 
styled Glandore Castle, the property of James Red- 
mond Barry, was formerly called Cloghatrabally, 
meaning the " stone fortress of the strand town." 
It was built by the chief of the Barretts of Munster, 
A. D. 1215. Timoleague and Dundeide Castle were 
built about the same time by Nicholas Boy De Barry. 
In A. D. 1260, Glandore Castle was broken down 
by Finghin Reanna Roin, son of Domhnall Cot 
McCarthy. It was rebuilt soon again, and then 
after a long lapse of time came into the possession 
of Domhnall Na Caston O'Donovan, the chief of 
Clanloughlin, a district lying between Glandore and 
Ross. This chieftain died in 1580 (see " Annals of 
Innisfallen"). Like many other old castles, that of 
Glandore is said to have had underground cells or 
chambers, from which subterranean passages led down 
towards the sea-side. These were used as places of 
retreat and modes of escape in times of pressing 

In former years, not long past either, regattas 
were annual occurrences in Glandore, and all the 
arrangements connected with them were perfect and 
on a most advanced scale. Yachts came round from 
Queenstown to compete for prizes, and crews of stal- 
wart peasants from the surrounding country dis- 
played their prowess as oarsmen in friendly rivalryi 
The entire performance wound up with a ball at the 
Castle. On these occasions the village and the ad^ 
jacent positions of advantage for sightseers were 
thronged with a gay and cheerful crowd, in holiday 
costume, enjoying the amusements of the day, and 
no more charming tout ensemble could be observed 


Sketches in Carbery, 

than that which Grlandore presented on a fine regatta- 
day. * 

Grlandore, as a fishing station, ought to attain to 
some importance if capital were expended, and enter- 
prise and energy awakened to carry out a more com- 
plete and extensive system of deep-sea fishing ' than 
exists at present. The sea off Grlandore, and, in 
fact off all the harhours along the coast, abounds in 
edible fish of all varieties. The native fishermen, 
owing to want of scientific training and capital, have 
neither boats, luggers, nor smacks, as a rule, suffi- 
ciently seaworthy and capacious, nor fishing gear of- 
proper efficiency to enable them to take larger hauls 
of fish in the deep waters. The consequence is that 
during the summer months fleets of luggers and 
smacks come across from Cornwall, the Isle of Man, 
Boulogne, and Dieppe to the Irish coast, where. the 
mackerel, pilchards, and herrings swarm in immense 
shoals, and make a rich harvest. A single take of 
fish is sometimes valued at £200. During the year 
1868 it appears that over £100,000 worth of fish 
was exported by the foreign fishermen who frequent 
Eansale Harbour, and this is probably now on the 
increase. These facts show a great want of employed 
capital, local enterprise, and development of indus- 
trial resources in this part of the country, when 
French and English luggers come from such a dis- 
tance, and almost monopolize the deep-sea fisheries 
along the coast, which should be, if things were 
managed properly, an abundant source of employ- 
ment to the labouring classes of the community, and 
which constitute a very important branch of com- 
merce and industry in every country. 

Lewis, in his topographical dictionary, referring 
to Grlandore, says; — "This seems to have .been a 

Sketches in Carbery. 


place of some importance at an early period, as 
appears from the erection of the castles 01' Glandore 
and Kilfinnan. Formany years it continued in an 
impoverished state, but it has again become a place 
of considerable note through the spirited exertions 
of its present proprietor, J. Eedmond Barry, Esq., 
who has, -within the last few years, expended upwards 
of £10,000 in various improvements." The result 
of this benevolence and praiseworthy exertion in 
developing the resources of the place has been to 
secure for him the warm esteem and deep respect 
of the gentry and people in the barony of Car- 

The charms of Glandore have been celebrated in 
verse by Dr. Murray, whose graphic and descriptive 
lines are, I am sure, familiar to the generality of my 
readers. I have ventured to introduce the following 
lines, written during a leisure hour, while sojourning 
at Glandore and admiring the beautiful scenery of 
the neighbourhood, so favoured by nature, and so 
interesting in every feature. 


Of all the gems which deck our isle, 
And stud our native shore, 

None wears for me a sunny smile 
So bright as sweet Glandore. 

Though other views may far excel, 
In wooded mount and lake, 

In sparkling stream and lonely dell, 
Thee I can ne'er forsake . 

Glandore's romantic harbour, glen, 

A tribute well may claim 
From far a worthier writer's penj 

To celebrate thy fame. 

192 Sketches in Carbery. 

Eillarney's lakes and changing skies 
• Her mountains bold and grand 
May bear away the highest prize ' 
For beauty in our land.' ' 

GlengarifF, too, with varied scene, 
And charms that never tire, 

With fairy nooks of emerald green 
I love so, and admire. 

Where some bright spell for ever wakes, 

To chain us to the spot ; 
Such impress on the mind it makes 

Once seen 'tis ne'er forgot. 

Behold the broad and sparkling Lee 
With verdant banks so fair, 

No river runs into the sea 
That with thee can compare. 

But oh ! there is some magic power 
Which holds a greater sway, 

And still it grows with every hour 
In Glandore's placid bay. 

For here the thoughts of youth's gay timet 
Of boyhood's pleasant days, 

Will make it seem to us sublime, 
Whilst wandering through life's maze. 

The gentle zephyr from the south 
Comes stealing o'er the sea, 

And wafted in the harbour's mouth, 
Blows o'er the fertile lea. 

It whispers softly to the groves, 
Which bud forth in the spring, 

And through the beautous flowers it roves, 
Which summer time doth bring. 

Close to a white and shelving strand 

An ancient castle 's seen, 
Where chieftains held a high command 

In olden times I ween. 

Sketches in Cavbevy. 

A verdant sward around is spread, 

And ivy-clad the walls ; 
Alas ! its glories all have fled, 

Deserted are its halls. 

Yes ! it is not so much the soft, 

And fragrant balmy air, 
That bids us linger here so oft 

EDj'oy each scene so fair. 

'Tis musing o'er the happy past 
We spent with friends of yore ; 

Such memories I cherish fast, 
And link them with Glandore. 

Though clouds may dim the sky at times, 
And storms may hover round, 

I love thee more than other climes, 
Where azure skies abound. 

When twilight steals from out the west, 

At eve of summer day, 
" And nature tired inclines to rest, 
I glance out on the bay. 

And often linger on the beach, 

Past times to ponder o'er, 
Each merry laugh and pleasant speech 

I heard in dear Glandore. 

Farewell, thou charming, treasured spot 

On Carb'ry's sea-girt shore, 
Thy beauty ne'er will be forgot 

By one who loves Glandore. 


About twenty-five years ago, a whale of very large 
proportions paid a visit to Glandore Harbour. It 
belonged to a species called the " Rorqual, or Razor 
Backed," the largest of the whale tribe, some of 
which attain to the length of 110 feet. This specie 


194 Sketches in Carbery. 

men was about seventy-five feet long, the other 
measurements being in proportion. "WHlst in the 
eager pursuit of a shoal of fish, he approached the 
harbour's mouth, and ran aground near The Sta< 
of Beans, a rock near the east end of Rabbit Idan 
He contrived to get jammed between two 
rocks, during the ebb of the tide, and remained so 
perfectly motionless at the time that he was supposed 
by lookers-on to be dead. On the return of the tide 
when placed in his native element, he flapped about 
violently with his tail, making desperate efforts to 
extricate himself (all to no purpose, however) from 
the constrained position he was in, and caused con- 
siderable commotion amongst many persons present, 
who were unprepared for such an event. A novel 
plan was adopted in order to secure the whale in the 
position he had taken up ; a large hole was dug in 
the blubber, and the fluke of a heavy anchor imbedded 
firmly in this hole. .The whale was claimed as 
Royalty, but after some time, in consequence of its 
rapid decomposition and the offensive smell gene- 
rated, it had to be towed into deep water and sunk. 
As we follow the windings of the harbour towards 
Leap, we cannot fail being impressed with thepio- 
turesque nature of the scenery, which only requires 
a more general distribution of wood to render it per- 
fect. Near Leap is situated the demesne of Myross 
Wood, which has a very pleasing effect when seen 
from the opposite side, the green slopes and rising 
grounds being thickly wooded down to the water's 
edge. Myross House is a plain, substantial, and 
commodious-looking house; it formerly was the resi-. 
dence of the third Earl of Kingston, before he-built 
Mitchelstown Castle, one of the finest private resi- 
dences in the south of Ireland. Myross House after- 


Sketches in Carbcry. 


wards belonged to a Mr. Coppinger, and finally came 
into the possession of its present proprietor, J. H. 
Townsend, Esq. 

On the west side of Glandore Harbour, near the 
Leap, underneath Myross House, a small island 
existed formerly, which, according to Smith, was 
formed in a very peculiar manner. He says : 

" That, by the working of the sea previous to his 
own time, a large part of the hill fell down, on which 
grew some trees. This piece formed an island of 
about twenty yards in circumference, and the trees 
continued to grow, but it is now almost completely 
washed away." 

At the extreme end of Grlandore Harbour stands 
the little village of Leap, anciently called Ceann 
Mara (the Head of the Sea) . 

O'Donovan, in "The Genealogy of Corca Laidhe " 
makes the following annotation : " Ceann Mara 
(Head of the Sea) : this was. the ancient name of 
the head of Cuan Dor, or Glandore Harbour, at 
O'Donovan's Leap." The latter appellation it derived 
from a person of that name having formerly accom- 
plished a wonderful jump across the deep ravine 
near the little village. 

This place formed part of the route through which 
Sir George Carew's army marched on their way to 
the siege of Dunboy, as we learn from the " Pacata 
Hibernia" that, after leaving Eosscarbery on the 
25th April, 1602, Carew passed over The Leap, thence 
to Castlehaven and Baltimore, and so on. Before 
the present main road was laid down across Leap 
the passage over the ravine must have been difficult 
and dangerous. Smith says : — 

" At the upper end of Glandore Harbour is a deep 
and dangerous glen, called ' The Leap,' on both 


196 Sketches in Carbery. 

sides of which is the high road from Eoss to the 
other parts of "West Carbery. The road crosses this 
glen, which is here as steep as a flight of stairs, so 
that few horses hut those that are well used to it 
would attempt it with courage." 

Close to Leap is Brede House, formerly the seat 
of the Jervois family in Carbery. About the begin- 
ning of the present century the Eev. Arthur Herbert, 
Eector of Myross, purchased a portion of the Jervis 
estate, and erected there, on the west side of Grlan- 
dore Harbour, Myross House, already noticed in a 
recent paragraph. 

At one place, a short distance above the bridge, 
near Leap, though the breadth across is only a few 
feet, there is a clear descent to the bottom on either 
side of about fifty feet, the surface of the rock at 
the same time being as smooth as if it were cut with 
a saw. 

The small stream which runs through the ravine 
and into Glandore Harbour, comes from a lake called 
Ballinlough, situated about two miles to the north of 
Leap, in the parish of Kilmacabea. This diminutive 
stream has the honour of forming the boundary line 
between the Baronies of East and "West Carbery. 
In the olden times all that part of Carbery which 
lay to the west of Leap was in a very unreclaimed 
state, and its fastnesses and bogs afforded such facility 
for escape and concealment to persons dreading crimi- 
nal prosecutions for acts of violence, or to persons 
fearing political persecution, that the following saying 
passed into a sort of proverb : — 

" Beyond the T.eap, beyond the law." 

From the high land to the north of Leap, called 
Keamore, may be obtained a good view of Grlandore 

Sketches in Carbery. 


and Castletownsend Harbours, and the adjacent 

Ballinlough Lake was formerly celebrated for its 
large red trout. It was also called Aghill Lough, 
aghill being a species of freshwater eel which abounded 
in the lake. It is a curious fact that shell-fish are 
found in its waters, especially wrinkles, exactly 
similar to those which exist on the sea-beach. On 
the north side of Ballinlough, near the road, on the 
summit of a steep hill, we observe a very fine lis, 
popularly called a Danish fort, styled Lis an Earla 
(the Earl's Fort). In the enclosure within the inner 
rampart are numerous pits leading to subterranean 
passages, most of which are nearly closed up at pre- 
sent by the sinking in of the soil. One of these pas- 
sages is said to have led down to the lake. 

Mrs. and Mr. Hall, in their work on Ireland, refer 
to a strange legend connected with this old lis — 
the tradition being that the subterranean passage 
imagined to connect it with the lake was carefully 
guarded by the fairies both day and night. It was 
also believed to lead to some bright and happy 
elysium beneath the waters of the lake called Tir- 
na-noge (the land of youth), whose inhabitants 
never suffered from the infirmities of old age, but 
always basked in the sunlight of perennial youth. 

About two miles east of Ballinlough, and a mile 
east of Conanagh, we observe a small lake called 
Lough Adereen, very insignificant in appearance, but 
still worthy of notice. The lake is bounded on one 
side by a bog, which has encroached upon its surface, 
making it much smaller now than it formerly was. 
Small floating islands, at one time in considerable 
numbers, existed on the lake — a few are only to be 
seen now. These islands were supposed by the 

198 Sketches in Carbery. 

country people to change places, and shift from one 
side to the other upon one particular day in the year, 
and hence they believed that there was something 
miraculous about the matter. 

The islands themselves are formed in a peculiar 
manner — portions of coarse grass, blown by strong 
winds upon the surface of the water during the 
autumn, occasionally become matted together by 
their tenacious roots, and whilst floating round the ] 
sides of the lake collect particles of earth and seeds 
of plants. In this way a small island is formed in 
course of time, which is enabled to float on the sur- 
face by reason of the light and turfy nature of its 
component parts. Sometimes also portions of the 
bog, by the undermining action of the water,' 
become detached from the mainland, and also form 
smallfloatingislands, on which growshrubs and weeds. 

We observe a small island of the same formation 
on one of the Shepperton Lakes. They are very 
numerous in Carnarvonshire, but the place most 
celebrated for its floating islands was the lake near 
the city of Mexico, where Prescott says that they 
existed in large numbers, and some of them so ex- 
tensive that they formed residences for colonies of 
the people, who gained a livelihood by the cultiva- 
tion of vegetables and flowers on these peculiar 
dwelling-places. Whenever the residents wanted to 
change from one locality to another they moved the 
islands about the edge of the lake by the use of long 

To return, however, to the subject we are dis- 
cussing, we find that formerly great numbers of 
people collected together in the neighbourhood of 
Lough Adereen, and that the same observances were 
carried on many years ago which exist in a minor degree 

Sketches in Carlery. 


at the present day. Close to the lake is pointed out 
a spot where once was an altar. It was also the 
custom to tie pieces of cloth to a neighbouring bush, 
and bring portions of bread and meal with which to 
feed the fish of the lake. Patterns and fairs were 
also held here on the east side of the lake, on a 
townland called Gortroe, and on these occasions, 
music, dancing, and feastings were the order of the 
day, which generally wound up with faction-fights 
or a general scrimmage. 

The various septs, and families in the parish of 
Kilmacabea made use of the fairs and patterns as 
opportunities for testing their comparative merits in 
the handling of the shillelagh. The place was very 
convenient, too, for such engagements, as blackthorns 
and oak-sticks grew abundantly in the neighbour- 
hood. However, from use of the stick, when long- 
continued disputes had fired their blood, and roused 
a sanguinary spirit, they proceeded to the adoption 
of deadlier weapons — guns, swords, bayonets, and 

About fifty years ago a terrible fight occurred, in 
which a man named Callaghan was shot down and 
bayoneted. After this occurrence the patterns and 
fairs died out, chiefly through the influence of Dr. 
Collins, who was Bishop of Ross at the time. Al- 
though we must hail with satisfaction the dying out 
of the faction-fights of olden times, we must admit 
that with them have become extinct, in a great 
degree, the rollicking fun and jovial merriment 
which characterised the Irishmen of a former era- 

In the neighbourhood of Lough Adereen, referred 
to in the last sketch, is a townland called Carhoogariff 
(the rough quarter). This land belonged, about 
forty years ago, to a very remarkable and eccentric 

200 Sketches in Carbery. 

personage, a philosopher (Thompson), whoso peculiar 
habits, strange creed, and extraordinary theories 
created a great sensation in Glandore, and the imme 
diate vicinity at the period alluded to. 

The philosopher was the son of a Cork merchant 
lie spent a considerable portion of his time in France 
and Belgium previous to 1830, where he imbibed 
the revolutionary doctrines prevalent in France at 
the time. He was in the habit of visiting Glandore 
occasionally, and settled down there a short time 
before his death, which took place in 1832. 

He soon became a man of local celebrity on account 
of the eccentricity of his character. Thompson 
belonged to a society called Communists, or Social- 
ists, which made itself prominent in his time ; they 
existed in France under the name of St. Simonians, 
and also m the United States. These men derived 
their political and moral ideas from the writings of 
Voltaire, and other sceptical philosophers of his 
stamp. In Scotland and England, Owen, Hamil- 
ton, and Combe were the chief supporters of the 

It appears that, in the year 1830, 300 of these co- 
operative trading fund associations, as they were 
called, were associated together in England, Ireland, 
and Scotland. The central one was situated in Lon- 
don, at Eed Lion Square, and called the London 
Association for the Promotion of Co-operative Know- 
ledge. The government of the body was deputed 
to central and local boards, chosen annually by a 
congress of delegates from all the branches of the 
association. At a co-operative congress, held in 
London, during the year 1869, it was proved that in 
1867, 171,807 members existed, with a capital of 
£o,001,lo3, but it was fully admitted that the 


Sketches in Garbery. 201 

acquisition of wealth alone was their main ob- 

Thompson being in possession of Carhoogariff, 
and having a considerable amount of money at his 
command, determined on gratifying his hobby and 
carrying into practical effect his favourite idea, 
viz., " The establishment of a community on the 
principles of mutual co-operation, united possessions, 
and equality of exertions and the means of enjoy- 
ment." The philosopher wrote a work, indicating in 
its title the principles referred to. Under the system 
which he wished to establish, a number of persons 
were to settle on a spot of ground, which was to be 
divided into equal lots of, say one acre to each person, 
every individual at the same time, bringing in a 
capital of from £20 to £100, as the case might be. 
Each person was to pursue the avocation in life 
which pleased him most, or for which he was best 
suited. He was to have an interest, and share in 
the general property of the community whilst he 
contributed by his personal exertions to the welfare 
of all, exchanging when he wished the products of 
his own industry for any articles belonging to other 
members which he might require, and so forth. 

Thompson laid the foundations of a row of build- 
ings at Carhoogariff, where the co-operative com- 
munity should reside. Not content with building 
castles in the air, he determined to build on a more 
solid foundation, and accordingly he erected a sort 
of modern round tower or turret at Carhoogariff, and 
furnished it as a private residence. The ruins of 
the turret are to be seen at present. The philosopher, 
however, did not live to carry into execution his 
Utopian views, as death cut him off in the midst of 
his speculations. He died in 1832. 

202 Sketches in Cavbery. 

All ideas of establishing the community were ' 
abandoned on his death. He left the hulk of his • 
property to some co-operative society to carry out ' 
the formation of a socialist community. His will 
was upset at law, being declared invalid, as it was 
maintained that the property was willed for immoral- 
purposes, one of his peculiar principles being that" 7 
there should be no necessity for marriage ceremonies m 
in the society, but that there should be a community^ 
of wives as well as of property. Thompson, though- 
a visionary and a theorist, was a man of acute intel-' 
lect, and considerable information. He was a strict 
vegetarian, and very temperate in his habits. His 
political opinions were those of a Eed Bepublican; - 
having spent a portion of his life in France. He 
adopted as his political code the revolutionary ideas 
which prevailed there at the time, and which reached . ' 
their climax in 1830. He used to walk about Grlan- 
dore, carrying a tri-coloured flag at the end of his 
walking-stick. The country people looked upon him. 
as a sort of magician, as he was in the habit of pub- 
licly exhibiting experiments of a chemical nature. : 
The philosopher was considered a man of ability by 
his own peculiar fraternity. 

One of Thompson's more practicable and reason- 
able speculations was the establishment of a Deep 
Sea Fishery Company to superintend and develop 
the fisheries along the south coast, making Glandore 
the chief depot and centre of action, but this, like 
the other projects, fell to the ground. In his will 
he bequeathed his body to his medical attendant, 
giving most minute particulars as to the preparation 
of the skeleton, and how the ribs were to be tipped 
with silver, that it might present a fashionable appear- 
ance. A phrenologist named Monsieur Baume came 

Sketches in Carbery. 203 

across from London to claim the cranium, in order 
to lecture on its phrenological development. The 
property of Thompson descended to his sisters, but 
being very heavily mortgaged it had to be sold in 
the . Incumbered Estates Court. His turret has 
tumbled down. The co-operative buildings have 
been razed to the ground, but the eccentricities of 
the philosopher, his extraordinary will, and strange 
career will long furnish subjects for story-telling and 
gossip in Grlandore and its neighbourhood. 

The country along the sea-coast, between Glandore 
and Ross, was originally called Fidh Ruis, meaning 
the rough, wooded country. Though it retains the 
former character at the present time, its title to 
being wooded no longer exists, in fact it is rather 
bare of trees. Like many other parts of Carbery, it 
is probable that nearly all the primeval woods which 
once existed there have been from time to time 
either burnt down, or levelled by the axe. The 
surface of the land is rugged and broken up into 
rocky peaks. The coast line is indented by small 
coves, which are situated between bare, bold-looking 
cliifs, and from these narrow ravines run inland be- 
tween the hill-sides andform the beds of small streams, 
which pursue their course to the sea. The scenery is 
said to resemble (on a miniature scale of course) Nor- 
wegian scenery. 

Inglis, in his travels through Ireland in 1834, 
speaking of the country to the west of Ross, in- 
cluding, I dare say, Grlandore and Castletownsend, 
says : — 

" After leaving this town, i. e. Ross, the country 
became extremely picturesque. We passed alono- 
and round the heads of deep wooded inlets of the 
sea, reminding me in' some degree of Norwegian 

204 Sketches in Carbery. 

scenery on a small scale, and soon after reached 
Skibbereen, a small ugly town, but a busy and 
thriving one, enjoying an excellent retail trade, 
owing to the demand of an extensive surrounding 1 
district." 6 

The land which lay between Grlandore and Koss 
originally belonged to a chieftain called Lochlainn, 
who was ancestor of the second most important sept 
of the O'Donovans. This territory consisted of 
thirty-six ploughlands, at present comprised in the 
parish of Kilfaughnabeg, and accordingly could not 
have been very extensive. It was this sept which 
obtained possession of Cloghatrabally, or Grlandore 
Castle, as previously mentioned. In the time of 
James I. Donell Oge Na Caston O'Donovan, the 
chieftain of that period, surrendered his possessions 
to the king and obtained a re-grant of the same. 
From this grant it_ appears that the head of the Clan- 
loughlin had at this time a territory, nearly as exten- 
sive as that of the head of the O'Donovans, of whom 
the former was independent, many of their lands 
being situated in Kilmacabea, Myross, &c. Jeremy 
Donovan, chieftain of Clanloughlin, was M. P. for 
Baltimore in 1689. 

The south-western point of this district, which 
bounds Grlandore Harbour on the east, is called 
Eeenogrena (O'Grreny's Point). Here we observe a 
very steep cliff, one of the highest along the coast, 
called File na Shouk (the hawk's cliff), which, gene- 
rally in the breeding season, is selected as a retreat 
by falcons and hawks. On the summit of this cliff 
we observe the ruins of an old signal tower, a relio 
of the troubled times when piracy and smuggling 
prevailed along the coast. The authorities in former 
times had a very decisive and summary manner of 

Sketches in Carbenj. 205 

dealing with offenders of the buccaneering class, as 
we learn from Smith : — 

"In the reign of Charles II., A. D. 1675, April 
20th, Peter Fox, and five more pretending to be pas- 
sengers in a rich ship belonging to Holland, called 
the St. Peter, of Hamburgh, bound to France, mur- 
dered the master and three of his crew, and brought 
the ship into the west of this county, but by the vigi- 
lance of Eobert Southwell, Yice-Admiral ofMunster, 
five of the malefactors were taken, and executed — 
viz., Edward Fox (brother to the above Peter, who 
ran away), John Fitzgerald, John Hood, John Crouch, 
and John Morris. Their heads were set up along the 
sea-coast— viz., atWaterford, Youghal, Cork, Kinsale, 
and Grlandore." 

A short distance to the east of Grlandore we come 
to the strand of Traighlong, which also gives name 
to a small cove, sometimes called Cow-cove. This 
strand is formed in a peculiar manner A small 
lake called Lough an Bhricin (the lake of the little 
trout) is situated in the bed of a narrow ravine, 
about half a mile to the north of Traighlong. From 
the lake a stream runs down to the strand and 
spreads out into a marsh, over which the sea flows 
at full tide. 

Beneath the white shingle on the beach a bog has 
been formed, which stretches out some distance into 
the sea, colouring the water almost black as the tide 
comes in. Turf can be cut from this bog below high 
water mark. The strand is passable to cars at low 
tide, but the journey across is -sometimes dangerous, 
as the passage is apt to shift its position like a quick- 
sand. There are other strands more extensive in 
size along the Irish coast, which are formed in the 
same manner as Traighlong, as, for instance, the large 

206 Sketches in Curler y. 

strand at Toughal, which is simply a turf-boo- covered 
over with sand and pebbles. 

The next small inlet we observe before coming to 
Boss is Mill Cove, into which the Boury stream falls. 
This stream is said to derive its name from O'Buaidhre' 
a follower of a chieftain named O'Leary, who lived 
formerly in this place, but after the English invasion 
removed to Iveleary, near Macroom. 

Between Mill Cove and Dooneen Point, on the 
land of Galatrahig, may be seen a large chasm in 
the soil called Pouladav (the Hole of the Ox) P 
from the fact of cattle having occasionally fallen 
down into this chasm, whilst browsing near the edge 
of the precipice, which is well worthy of notice, as 
it is one of the most interesting and peculiar objeots 
along the coast. It would seem that this hole had. 
been formed by some sudden convulsion, as it appears 
improbable that the undermining force of the sea 
alone could effect such a strange and extensive look- 
ing excavation. This is a mere matter of conjecture 

Pouladav communicates with the sea by three 
separate openings, the south is the short and direot 
one. Its^ entrance from the sea is guarded on either 
side by high precipitous cliffs, which stand guarding 
the passage to the dark retreat within, like the huge 
portals of a gateway. The sea rushing in between 
these cliffs passes through a narrow crevice, which 
has been worn in the §olid rock, and opens into the . 
chasm within, forming a small deep pool. This .. 
entrance is bridged over at the top by the overlying 
rock and soil, which project across, forming the 
superstructure of the arch. Between the edge of 
Pouladav and the top of the cliff, near the sea, the . 
distance s is about 250 yards. A boat can be rowed _ 

Sketches in Carbery. 207 

through the south passage in fine weather. The western 
opening into Pouladav forms a subterranean passage, 
which joins the sea at Mill Cove, after pursuing a 
course of a quarter of a mile. The east entrance is 
said to run underground for nearly a mile, and open 
into the sea near Downeen Point. Pouladav itself 
is a huge chasm, open at the top. Its east and west 
sides are formed by abruptly precipitous cliffs, l 220 
feet high, the continuity of whose surface is unbroken 
from top to bottom by a single ledge of rock. At 
the north side a steep and winding pathway leads to 
the bottom, where a person can stand, on a small 
strand covered with large flat stones, and observe 
the sea -rushing in through the south entrance. 
The descent and ascent along this path are not 
easily accomplished, especially in rainy weather. 
At the top Pouladav measures about 60 to 80 yards 
across, and it is about 160 yards long. There is 
another Black Hole on the land of Traghlong, called 
West Pouladav, whose proportions are on a some- 
what smaller scale than those of the one we have 
been describing. 

At the head of the valley through which the 
Eowry river runs, and about half-a-mile from Mil- 
cove, stand the ruins of Ballyverine House, or Cop- 
pin ger's Court as it is more familiarly called, which 
according to Smith, during the 18th century was the 
largest house in Carbery, and which, according to 
popular tradition, had a chimney for every month 
a door for every week, and a window for every day 
in the year. 

Whether we are to give credence to the latter 
statement or not must be a matter for consideration, 
but still there is strong evidence from observing the 
ruins as they exist at present that the house must 

• ■ 

208 Sketches in Carbery. 

have been originally one of large proportions, and 
that the proprietor must have been a man of con- 
siderable wealth and influence. 

Coppinger's Court was built in the early part of the 
17th century ; its architecture, as we can discover at a 
glance, was of the Elizabethan style. "We still perceive 
the pointed gables, numerous prominent octagonal 
chimney shafts, and the various windows, which for- 
merly it is to be presumed were richly mullioned. ; The 
walls which enclose the courtyard still remain — the 
yard itself has been converted into a corn-field. 
Within the building all the floors have disappeared ; 
the outer walls of the edifice alone remain — the ruin, 
however, showing through the trees as we descend 
Rowry Hill, has a quaint and romantic appearance, 
which awakens immediately our interest in historio 
and legendary lore. 

Sir Walter Coppinger, who erected this building, 
was a man, if we are to believe tradition, of rather 
obscure origin, and during his early years is said to 
have acted in the capacity of valet to Sir Fineen 
(Florence) O'Driscoll, the chieftain of Baltimore 
and Cape Clear. It will be necessary here to deviate 
a little from the direct line of narrative, in order to 
explain how Coppinger, from being a comparatively 
poor and humble man, became a rich and powerful 

Towards the end o,f Queen Elizabeth's reign, 
A. D. 1601, as was previously mentioned, the 
Spaniards landed in Xinsale, upon which all the 
western chieftains joined them, amongst others Sir 
Fineen O'Driscoll. After the overthrow of the 
Spaniards Sir Fineen's territories were forfeited to 
the Crown, but before this event took place, being a . ^ 

clever diplomatist, he contrived to recover the good 

Sketches in Carbevy. 209 

graces of the Queen (as already related) by enter- 
taining the English fleet at Baltimore. 

"When the Queen, being informed of it," says 
Smith, "pardoned his joining the Spaniards, and 
sent for him to Court, but before he arrived the 
Queen died, and during his absence the greater part 
of his possessions were intruded into by Sir Walter 
Coppinger, which caused this ancient family (the 
O'Driscolls) to fall to decay." 

Sir Fineen is said to have died in England just 
as he was about to start for home. His death is 
however shrouded in mystery. 

To recapitulate somewhat, in order to explain 
matters thoroughly. 

_ After O'Driscoll' s death Coppinger prosecuted his 
title to the estate, and by clever management and 
the production of legal documents of a very ques- 
tionable value, however, he contrived, by reference 
to get an order out of Chancery against the heirs of 
Sir Fineen O'Driscoll. O'Driscoll, some years before 
his death, had granted a lease of Baltimore for 
twenty-one years to Sir Thomas Crook, who planted 
an English colony there, and procured a charter of 
incorporation from King James I. Coppinger was 
not allowed to remain quietly in possession. 

The sovereign of Baltimore applied to the govern- 
ment for relief. The Locds Justices issued a com- 
mission, and Coppinger, in spite of his diplomatic 
skill and legal documents, had to deliver up posses- 
sion, and was subsequently confined in Dublin Castle 
for contempt of orders. It is to be presumed, how- 
ever, that during his short tenure, he managed to 
amass a considerable fortune, Coppinger had luck 
nevertheless, in leaving at that particular crisis as 
in a few years afterwards (1631) Baltimore was 


2L0 Sketches in Cafbery 

sacked by the Algeria es and all 
taken into captivity. 

"We will now follow Sir Walter to his handsome 
residence at Ballyverine, where he spent the re-' 
mainder of his days. He intended building a 
market town in the vicinity of the court, and another 
intention of his was to convert the Rowry stream 
into a canal, which would be navigable for vessels 
from Millcove to the town, which by that means 
would become a place of some mercantile impor- 
tance. . - 

All his plans were upset by the wars of 1641, 
when the house was attacked by an armed force, 
ransacked, and partially burnt down. After this 
event we lose sight of Coppinger, so far as being 
unable to learn from recorded history any further 
particulars connected with his life. 

From tradition the following information referring 
to his acts has been handed down to us. During 
his residence at Rowry he was chiefly distinguished 
by his tyrannical qualities. No Russian nobleman 
of former times lorded it over his serfs with such 
despotic sway as Coppinger over the surrounding .• 

At the time when the events we are now describ- 
ing were being enacted, the spirit of feudalism, which 
was on the decline in England, flourished as strongly 
in Ireland as it did in England and France during 
the 12th and 13th centuries. All authority, and 
the enjoyment of the luxuries and goods of life were 
centred in a favoured few whom hereditary title, the 
right of conquest, or fortuitous circumstances, 
Coppinger's case, had raised to an exalted position. 
In England at this period the bulk of the people 
were emerging slowly but steadily, from the ignoble 

Sketches in Carbery. 211 

vassalage and degeneracy which, feudalism had 
stamped on them during the Dark Ages. In Ire- 
land, however, where surrounding circumstances 
were of a different character, the people either 
groaned in silence beneath the heavy chains which 
held them " in durance vile," or rushed at times, 
wildly and ineffectually, into conflicts with superior 
force and skill. 

Stories are related of Coppinger which seem in- 
credible at the present day, and which, no doubt, 
are somewhat exaggerated. He is said to have 
possessed in the district, which he ruled as a local 
despot, the power of life and death over the 
people. It is related how he had a yard-arm ex- 
tended from one of the gable-ends of his mansion, 
which served the purpose of a gallows, wherewith to 
hang the victims of his unlicensed power. Stories 
are also told of a dark dungeon beneath the basement 
story of the court, where prisoners pined for years in 
wretchedness and chains. 

The way in which he closed his career is said to 
have been the following : — On one occasion Cop- 
pinger, in a rage, made a vow that he would 
execute some obnoxious individual as soon as he 
returned from prayers. The day happened to be 
Sunday. He did not wish to carry out the sentence 
without first attending to his devotions, so religious 
a character was he. Keport goes on to say that 
Coppinger, when leaving the church, suddenly 
dropped dead in a fit, brought on by violence of 
passion, and the people believed at the time that it 
was a visitation of Providence which cut him off in 
the midst of his designs. 

After his death the estate passed in fragments 
into the hands of several new owners. The Tvil- 



Sketches in Carbery. 

fiiiane and Bowry portion was purchased by Mr. 
Thomas Becher, of Sherkin, in- 1698, and now' 
belongs, in fee, to Sir Henry Becher ; another por- 
tion was held by a Mr. James Somerville, in right 
of his wife. 

An air of romantic interest has been attached to 
Coppinger's Court, by means of a story published 
some years ago in the Eagle, and written by a gentle- 
man of considerable literary and scientific acquire- 
ments, living in the neighbourhood of Skibbereen. 

Having completed our notice of Coppinger's Court, 
and the records and traditions connected with it, the 
next place in the neighbourhood of Eoss which is 
entitled to description, owing to its antiquity and', 
the interesting facts relating thereto, is the ancient 
Castle of Benduff (black peak or gable), or, as 
it is now called Castle Salem, situated about a 
mile to the north-west of Boss, in the bosom of a 
secluded valley, shut in by hills, and at one time 
encompassed by a dense and wide plantation of trees. 
Benduff differed, to a certain extent, from the gene- 
rality of the feudal strongholds of former times, 
■which, as a rule, were either perched upon some 
rocky eminence, or surmounted the summit of some 
rising ground. The sheltered and isolated nature 
of its situation very probably protected it, in a great 
measure, from external danger. 

This castle, according «to Smith, was built by the 
'Donovans,, whilst other authorities assert that it 
was erected by Catherine, daughter of Thomas, 8th 
Earl of Desmond. This would give us for the date 
of its building about the year 1470, or thereabouts. 
Thomas, 8th Earl of Desmond, one of the most 
powerful of his race, and who was viceroy of Ireland 
in the time of Edward IY., was executed at Drogheda i 

Sketches in Carhcry. 213 

in 1466, having fallen a victim to the malice of 
Lady Jane Grey, Edward's Queen, for some disre- 
spectful speech he made about her to the king. His 
daughter, Catherine, who is said to have founded 
Benduff, is most probably the personage who has 
come down to us under the sobriquet of " the black 
lady," and about whom various legends are told in 
connection with Benduff. 

The castle was originally a strong romantic struc- 
ture, built in the style of the Norman fortresses, 
which studded the surface of the country during the 
middle ages, and which were distinguished by the 
square central keep or tower, with thick massive 
walls, loopholed for the use of arms, and to admit 
light, to which were generally attached side build- 
ings, furnished with bastions, strong outer walls 
enclosing the entire, which were sometimes furnished 
with covered ways. 

Benduff Castle had three arches ; the walls were 
eleven feet thick, with passages and recesses, and the 
usual stone stairway ; it was originally about seventy 
feet high. One of its former proprietors, old William 
Morris, took off the top and. put on a slated roof. 
The modern house was built with its rere against 
the olden one. You step from the first landing of 
the stairs into the castle by the ancient doorway 
about twelve feet from the ground. 

The grounds at the base of the castle at one time 
were laid out in the old Dutch style with ponds, and 
little islands full of shrubs, and yew trees, and so 
sheltered and warm is the situation that fig trees 
grow there and flourish in the open air. Until 
about fifty years ago the castle was surrounded by 
a very handsome oak plantation, which at one time 
occupied an area of three hundred acres. Almost 

214 Sketches in Carbery. 

the entire of this wood was cut down and sold by 
tne last Moms, who lived at Benduff. '" 

Formerly also an extensive deer park existed here, 
lhe old ivy-clad walls which enclosed it are still 
standing m ftrt; we perceive them about half' a 
mile to the west of the slate quarry. The park ex- 
tended eastward towards Deny, embracing the pre^ 
sent mam road leading to Ross, which intersects 
what was once called the park. On the south side 
of the main road a portion of the wall bounds on 
one side the old coach road, the principal means of 
traffic and conveyance from Skibbereen to Cork 
about seventy years ago, and which, to judge from 
appearances, must' have been a very rocky and dis- 
agreeable road to travel. 

Benduff during the latter half of the seventeenth 
century, belonged to the Morris family, the first of 
that name who became owner being Major Apollo 
Morris, an officer in Cromwell's army. He obtained 
a grant of this estate from Cromwell, and, on the 
restoration of Charles II. the grant was confirmed 
through the interest of a relative of the major's who 
was private secretary to the king. The successor to 
Major Morris was William Morris, who was an inti- 
mate friend and correspondent of the celebrated 
William Penn, both before and after the latter went 
to colonize Pennsylvania. All the family papers, 
deeds ^c, among which was the grant from Charles 
11., ol the estate, were preserved in the castle until 
ab.out twenty-five years ago. The late William 
Morris placed them in the hands of a bookseller in 
Cork, named O'Dell, with the intention of publica- 
tion, lie bookseller failed, and all the papers' 
were either lost or mislaid. 

There was a small half-length portrait (in oil) of 

Sketches m Carbery. 


Cromwell, by one of the old painters, which repre- 
sented him clad in armour, his head bare, and locks 
flowing, with a stern and sombre aspect. 

As we enter the gateway of the avenue, on our 
right hand, may be sfcten an ancient Quaker burial- 
place, which old William Morris, Penn's friend, 
established here. The place is small, and full of 
the simple graves which the Quakers used, with 
plain head and foot stones facing north and 
south, no monuments or tombs being allowed 
by this sect. So well known was the graveyard 
that the remains of deceased Quakers were brought 
from the city of Cork and various parts of the country 
to be interred there. Around the graveyard was a 
remarkable grove of laurel trees, which grew to such 
a height that the crows established a rookery in them. 
A very large and handsome yew tree also grew near 
the spot. Old William married a daughter of 
Colonel Bryan Townsend, and thus became con- 
nected with the Townsend and Hungerford families. 
Upon his death a tomb of very plain and rude 
construction, was erected to him at Benduff, and 
so shocked were the Quakers with this breach of 
their religious observances that they ceased from 
that time out to make any further interments in the 
place. The old tomb is still to he seen in the centre 
of the burial-place. The last proprietor of Benduff, 
or Castle Salem, was the late much-respected Dr. 

216 Sketches in Carbery. 



* Eosscarbery, of ancient origin-Great seat of sanctity and learning 
m former times— Professor Spalding on the Ar.fO ???¥ 
Histories-Eoss Ailithir (wood of the Xri™^? °i ^ 
in the neighbourhood^. JW^iattSt'^Bt to^Z 
an ancient abbey here-Dr. Lynch^EUahTon dSyaJon o 
Eoss— Former extent of diocese— Leo-end aW <;7 v <v. 
Toumpleen na Fachna-Hanmer andcifo'^^fXr 
dan-Eetrospective ww of the distinguished bisW, of » EL 
venerable See-Eoss Cathedral, general account-Curious <Le of 
trance, or suspended animation-Modern pilgrimage torteTmb 
elusion. EeV " J ° hn ^^ P - P --^^e^, ^1S. 

During the early part of the Dark Ages, when the 
fierce tide of pagan barbarism and ignorance swept 
like a deluge throughout continental Europe, over- 
whelming m its progress the landmarks of civiliza- 
tion, erected in previous eras by Egypt, Greece, and 
.home, Ireland was the ark where the Christian 
Faith, and the literary and scientific knowledge, 
which were to shed a light over modern times, and 
regenerate mankind, found a safe retreat and hospi- 
table abode to reside and flourish in. At the period 
we allude to many seats of learning, and numerous 
religious edifices were established in this country, and 
Ireland became so famed throughout Europe by the 
wisdom of her professors and the piety of the inhabi- 
tants, that such titles were conferred upon her as 
"The Island of Saints" and "The Island of Scholars," 
and numbers of students flocked there from various 
parte of Europe, in order to drink deep from the. 

Sketches in Carbery. 217 

springs of knowledge, and become perfected in their 

Camde^, a writer of some authority, observes 
that "the Saxons flocked -to Ireland as to a great 
mart of learning, which is the reason, says he, 
we so often find this in our authors : " Such a one 
sent his son over to Ireland to be educated." The 
Venerable Bede confirms this statement in his " Ec- 
clesiastical History," and Camden himself relates 
this passage in the life of Sulgenius, who lived six 
hundred years before his time : — 

" Exemplo'patruui commotus amore legendi, 
Juvit ad Hibernos sopjiia mirabile clarcs." 

"With love of learning and examples fir'd, 
To Ireland, f'am'd for wisdom, he retired." 

Many other distinguished authorities could be 
cited to prove that the inhabitants of Ireland, during 
the early portion of the Christian era, and even 
previous to that time, were considerably advanced 
in learning, and, consequently, in civilization. So 
famous was Ireland for learning in ancient times, it 
may not be amiss, says Smith, to mention that it 
was an Irish professor who first opened the public 
schools in Oxford ; and the first acknowledged British 
author of distinction, whose name is mentioned in 
English literature, was St. Columbanus, a native of 
Ireland, a man of vigorous ability, who contributed 
greatly to the advancement of Christianity in various 
parts of Europe, and died A. D. 615, 

Professor Spalding of the Aberdeen University, 
in his standard work, " History of English Litera- 
ture," remarks (page 31): "It does not appear 
rash to say that the Irish possess contemporary his- 
tories of their country, -written in the language of 

218 Sketches in Carlery. 

the people, and authentic though meagre, from the 
fifth century or a little later. No other nation of 
modern Europe is ahle to make a similar boast." 

The town of Eosscarbery, though to the ordinary 
observer it may seem a place comparatively unim- 
portant, was, nevertheless, one of the most ancient and 
celebrated places in Ireland, and as far back as the 
6th century, was renowned at home and abroad as a 
great seat of learning and sanctity. Hither flocked 
students, both lay and clerical, from all parts of Ire- 
land, to complete their studies under the most eminent \ 

Dr. Joyce, alluding to it, says: — " Eosscarbery, in 
Cork, was formerly a place of great ecclesiastical 
eminence, and it was ' so famous for the crowds of 
students and monks, flocking to it, that it was dis- 
tinguished by the name of " Eos-ailithir " (Allihir), 
the wood of the pilgrims.'" - " "% 

The present town, which has improved of late, is 
picturesquely situated near the sea. The scenery 
in the vicinity is beautiful in the highest degree, 
and every verdant spot — rocky eminence, or crumb- 
ling ruin is hallowed by the memory of some 
historical event, legendary story, or fragment of an- 
tiquarian lore, which can awaken curiosity, and set 
us thinking over the reminiscences of days gone 

Eosscarbery, or Allithir, its ancient name — . 
(it was called Eosscarbery to distinguish it from 
Eoss in "Wexford) — wa,s founded by St. Fachtnan 
about the year 590, according to Colgan. Other 
authorities say that, in the early part of the sixth 
century, he came from the Abbey of Molana, near 
Youghal, and founded an abbey here for regular 
canons. The ruins of a chapel erected at some dis- 

Sketches in Carbery. 219 

tant period near the site of the old ahbey, within 
the ancient cemetery of Boss, are still to be seen : it 
must have been of very small dimensions. The north 
and south walls still remain, built of rough, unhewn 
stones, and bear strong evidence of antiquity. No 
relic of the abbey established by St. Fachtnan can 
be observed ; for though the renown of the saint is 
still as fresh as ever, the monastery he established 
has long ago crumbled into dust. 

This monastery formed a nucleus, around which 
sprung up a walled town in the same manner (though 
on a minor scale) as Cork originated around the 
monastery of St. Finbar. 

St. Fachnan, the founder (Fachtna), was also called 
" Fachtna facundus,'^ or " the eloquent," and 
Mac Mongach, because he was born having his head 
covered with hair, He was a disciple of St. Finbar's, 
who founded Cork, and was also abbot of a monastery 
at Molana, near Toughal, before he settled down at 

Dr. Lynch, born according to Hardiman in the 
beginning of the 17th century, in his "MS. History 
of the Irish Sees" (see New Edition of " Monasticon 
Hibcrnicion" in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record), tells 
us that " Ross in Irish has three distinct meanings, 
being used to designate a meadowy plain, a grove, 
and more frequently a promontory." This last 
meaning would well correspond with the territory 
of which we speak, which jutting out into the sea 
presents quite the appearance of a promontory, whilst 
the smiling fields, which adorn the surrounding 
country, would justify the application of the name 
in its first meaning. 

The diocese of Eoss, founded by St. Fachnan in 
the sixth century, was originally coextensive with the 

220 Sketches in Carbery . 

territory of Corca Laidhe, but in Lynch's t_ 
was only eighteen miles in length, and four or five 
in breadth, and contained 24 parishes, besides three 
detached parishes in the neighbourhood of Bear- 
haven. The festival in commemoration of the patron 
saint of Eoss was formerly kept on the 14th of 

The following legend is related of the saint:— 
" He was in the habit of praying daily on the side 
of a hill, about half-a-mile east of Ross. One evening 
he forgot his prayer-book, and the next morning, 
strange to say (the night had been rainy), a small 
chapel had sprung into existence immediately over 
the spot where the saint had prayed the day before. 
However that may be, the ruins of this little oratory, 
Toumpleen-a-Fachtna, are still extant. Its" pro- 
portions are on a limited scale, being only twelve 
feet long by eight feet broad. O'Donovan says 
that it is the only building of St. Fachtna's time 
now remaining. He differs in opinion also -from 
Harris and others, who assert that the old cathedral 
was erected by St. Fachtnan, and not by Mac Craith, 
in the tenth century, as O'Donovan states, quoting 
from the "BookofBallymote." Toumpleen-a-Fachtna 
was rebuilt about the year 1664 by a devotee who, 
in a fit of sickness, had made a vow to the saint that if 
he recovered he would build a chapel in his honour. 
There is a rough corner-stone in one of the walls com- 
memorating this event as follows — "Ad gloriamDci, 
et hominum sahationem, , \ Sfc. — not easily deciphered. • 
In former times, on the 16th August, the patron day 
of the saint, great numbers of pilgrims frequented 
this spot, and removed a small portion of earth from 
the immediate neighbourhood of the oratory, which, . 
as a sort of amulet, was supposed by some to possess " 

Sketches in Carbcry. 221 

the virtue, when stitched in the clothes, of saving a 
shipwrecked person. 

The "Book of Dues," as mentioned already, belong- 
ing to the church of Boss-Allithri, was presented to 
St. Fachtnan by Conall, chieftain of Corca Laidhe, 
at Ardnabportan (Crab-Fish Hill), on Inisbeg, an 
island in the river Hen, near Skibbereen. We find 
the following notice in the "Annals of Innisfallen : " 
" A. D. 600. Died Fachtnan, first Bishop of Boss- 
Allithir, in Corca Laidbe." According to Hanmer, 
"Ross was formerly walled round, but by the wars of 
the Irish septs the walls were broken down, and, at 
the present day, the foundations of this ancient place 
cannot even be traced." The same writer says — "A 
famous university also flourished here, where resorted 
all the south-west of Ireland for learning sake." 
St. Brendan, patron saint of Kerry, is also said to 
have visited Boss, and taught "lessons of wisdom" 
there. Camden, who lived in the reign of Elizabeth, 
states that the harbour, previous to his time, was 
navigable for ships, but in his own day it had become 
choked up with sand, and in this condition it has 
remained down to the present date. After St. 
Fachtnan's death, St. Finchad, a disciple of St. 
Finbar, of Cork, succeeded. No account of any of 
his successors down to the year 1170 is given, except 
of Dougal Mac Folact, the 27th bishop. According 
to O'Flaherty, and he gives as his authority a distich 
out of the " Book of Lecan" : — 

" Dougalus a Fachtna ter nonus Episcopus extat, 
Lugadia de gente dedit cui Eossa mitram." 

" Hail ! happy Ross ! thou couldst produce thrice nine, 
All mitred sages of Lugadia's line, 
From Fachtnan, crowned with everlasting praise, 
Down to the date of Dougall's pious days." 

222 Sketches in Carhery. 

In the reign of King John, the cantred ofEoss- 
Allithri, with its appurtenances, excluding the de- 
mesnes of the bishop, was granted by the king to 
Adam DeEupe (or Eoehe), by his supplying the 
service of six knights. Along line of bishops is' 
mentioned by Smith, from Benedict, in 1172, to 
Thomas O'Herlihy, who sat from 1563 to 1570. The 
latter was present at the Council of Trent (one out-of 
the three Irish bishops who attended that great Coun-' 
cil), and died in 1579, and is buried in Kilcrea Abbey: 
Dr. O'Herlihy was a native of the parish of Kil- 
macabea, near Leap. 

In the previous century a very distinguished- 
prelate was Bishop of Eoss, viz., Dr. Edmund 
Courcy, who was translated from Clogher to the See 
of Eoss in 1491. He was originally a Franciscan 
monk in Timoleague Abbey, which, as already re- 
ferred to, he enriched and re-edified. His mortuary 
chapel is still in existence, though in ruins, within 
the ancient walls of Timoleague Abbey. He was 
succeeded by O'Murrily, abbot of the Monastery at 
Carigilihy, in Myross {Be Fonte Vivo). 

In 1601 the renowned Owen M'Egan was ap- 
pointed Yicar Apostolic of Eoss by Pope Clement 
VIII. In the "Paoata Hibernia" (Carew)he is 
mentioned as a priest of the diocese of Eoss, Bachelor 
in Theology, Master of Arts, "and most commendable 
for his learning, moral conduct, and manifold virtues." 
After the battle of Kinsale, Captain Taaffe led some 
troops into Carbery, in order to wage war on 
the chieftains who had joined the Spaniards and 
O'Neil. Whilst driving before him the captured 
spoil (cattle and horses) he was attacked on the 
banks of the river Bandon by the MacCarthys and 
O'Sullivans, who, when on the point of giving way, 

Sketches in Cat-bevy. 223 

were rallied and led on by Bishop Mac Egan. The 
issue of the battle was doubtful for a long time, and 
was fiercely contested until the brave Yicar was slain, 
after which occurrence the Irish forces were dis- 
heartened and retreated. The Bishop's remains were 
borne off the field of battle by 'Sullivan : he was 
buried at Timoleague Abbey, and a small cross in- 
dented in the wall near the north-western angle of 
the cloister commemorates the exact spot where rest 
the remains of the illustrious Mac Egan. 

The first Protestant Bishop of Ross was "William 
Lyons, who was appointed to this see in 1582, and 
died 1617: he annexed it to the diocese of Cork, both 
of ■which since that period have formed conjointly a 
combined diocese. 

In the year 1650, when Cromwell was besieging 
Clonmel the titular Roman Catholic Bishop of Ross 
was named Boetius Mac Egan : he collected a force of 
4,000 foot and 300 horse in order to raise the siege, 
or assist the beleaguered garrison. Cromwell des- 
patched Lord Broghill with a large force to attack 
the bishop's army. Broghill marched in hot haste 
to Kilcrea, and then to Carrigadrohid, which was 
garrisoned by a detachment of the bishop's forces. 
Leaving his infantry to keep watch over the castle 
at Carrigadrohid, he marched with the cavalry to 

At Broghill's approach the Irish troops set fire to 
Macroom Castle, and joined their main army, which 
was encamped in the park. Broghill making a 
sudden attack, defeated the forces opposed to him, 
and captured Bishop Mac Egan, whom he promised 
to pardon, if he advised the garrison at Carrigadrohid 
to surrender. The bishop, however, with the courage 
of an ancient Roman, and a contempt for death 

221 Sketches in Garbery. 


worthy of a Begulus, advised them to hold out to 
the last, fearing lest Broghill might put them to the 
sword- The reward of his unflinching courage was 
instant execution. _ Broghill subsequently captured 
the castle by a stratagem, viz., by drawing large 
pieces of timber towards the walls by means of a 
team of oxen. The garrison supposed them to be 
cannon, and after a parley surrendered. The date 
of the battle was 10th May, 1650, according to 

In the Consistorial Acts, A. D. 1517, some inte- 
resting information is given regarding the ancient 
cathedral of Eoss, said to have been first erected by St. - 
Fachnan, and which, in the beginning of the 16th cen- 
tury, was, according to the " Monast. Hibernic." ^ 
" one of the most remarkable structures of the king- 
dom." At the date referred to, John O'Murrily 
(formerly abbot of the Abbey de Fonte Vivo,) was 
bishop of Eoss, having succeeded Dr. De Couroy, 
who resigned, owing to the infirmities of age. . 

The minute of the Consistorial Inquiry states 
" how the city of Eoss was situated in the Ecclesias- 
tical Province of Cashel, in the midst of a vast plain, 
which stretched along the sea-shore." It contained 
200 houses, and was walled round ; the land was 
fertile, and yielded abundant crops. The cathedral 
church, dedicated under the invocation of St. Fach- 
nan, was in the centre of the city. The walls of the 
church were of cut stone ; there were two entrances, 
one at the side, the other in front, and a descent by 
three steps to the level of the church floor, which was 
unpaved. The roof was of wood, and covered with 
slates. It was cruciform in shape, and equalled in 
size the church of S. Maria del Popolo in Eome. 
The central nave was separated by stone pillars from 

Sketches in Curler//. 225 

the aisles. All the vestments and sacred ornaments 
belonging to the cathedral were of an elaborate and 
costly description. In the cemetery outside there 
was a bell-tower furnished with one large bell. 
The Church dignitaries consisted of a dean, arch- 
deacon, chancellor. There were also twelve canons, 
and four vicars. The canons resided in different 
parts of the diocese, which was about twenty miles 
in length. The bishop's residence was about half a 
mile from the city, and pleasantly situated on the sea 

According to local tradition the site of the epis- 
copal palace was Cregane, near Eoss, at present the 
property of W. Starkie, Esq., E. M. 

The episcopal revenue was derived from corn, 
tithes, and pasturage, and amounted annually to 
sixty marks, which would only make it £40 per 
annum. We must consider, however, that three 
centuries and a half ago the intrinsic value of money 
was perhaps nearly twenty times greater than it is 
at present, so that it might be correct to say the 
income in 1517 was equivalent to at least £800 at 
the present day. 

In the reign of Elizabeth, when Lyons was ap- 
pointed (first Protestant bishop), all the plate, bells, 
&c-, which were of solid silver, and belonged to the 
cathedral and monastery, were secreted, and have 
remained concealed and undiscovered up to the pre- 
sent day : they were valued at £7,000. Tradition 
says that they were buried deep somewhere in the 
strand. If not washed away by the tide, some for- 
tunate explorer (who was born with a silver spoon 
in his mouth) might yet discover the hidden 

The present Protestant church in Eoss is built on 



226 Sketches in Car bevy. 

the foundations of the old cathedral ; it dates from 
1612. Within the walls, and fixed in the arch 
beneath the tower, is a square stone, with a rudely 
carved head of St. Eachnan standing out in relief 
said to he coeval with the ancient and original build- 
ing. The well proportioned and graceful-looking 
spire of cut limestone, which surmounts the tower-, 
contrasts agreeably with the surrounding green 
foliage, and has a picturesque and pleasing effect, 
when viewed from the distance. 

There are some tablets erected in the nave of the 

Boss Protestant church, of chaste and finished 

workmanship, which deserve a passing notice,' as 

they give evidence of antiquity, and supply us with 

some historical information. On the north wall, 

facing the entrance, is one " In memory of Captain 

Thomas Hungerford, who died March 2nd, 1680, 

and was interred in the cathedral. The third in 

descent from Lord Walter De Hungerford, of the 

county of Worcester, who took the Duke of Orleans 

prisoner at the battle of Agincourt, and was Lord 

High Chamberlain in the court of Edward III." 

Immediately over the door, as we enter, is another 

tablet with the following inscription — " Here lyeth 

interred the body of Sir William Moore, Bart., of 

Rosscarbery, who departed this life the 28th day of 

August, in the year of our Lord, 1693, and in the 

one and thirtieth year of his age. He was killed 

accidentally by a heavy stone, which fell from aloft 

whilst the tower was being built." There is also a 

monument to an English gentleman named Arthur 

Steele, who was a high official in the old East Indian 

Service. He was staying on a visit in Ross, and 

was drowned accidentally in the year 1831, whilst 

bathing in the harbour. Handsome tablets erected 

Sketches in Carhcry. 227 

to the Townsend and Starkie families are also to be 
observed. N 

Besides Teampleen-Fachna, tbe parish of Kil- 
faughnabeg (the little church of Fachna), situated 
between Ross and Glandore, and formerlj called 
"Fidh Buis," also retains at the present day the 
name of the patron saint. 

In the year 1131 a hostile force from Connaught 
under the command of Donogh Mac Carthy made 
an attack on Boss, and plundered it: they were 
shortly afterwards defeated. 

At the time of the English invasion all the lands 
connected with Ross, exclusive of what belonged to 
the bishop (Benedict was bishop in 1172), were granted 
to Fitz Stephen. 

At one time the ancient abbey belonged to the 
monks of the Benedictine Order, and was subject to 
the celebrated Benedictine Abbey of St. James, with- 
out the walls of the city of Wurtzburgh, in the pro- 
vince of Mentz, Germany. 

As far back as the beginning of the 13th century, 
in the reign of King John of England, a charter of 
incorporation with privileges was granted to Eoss, 
but no municipal records of that period are now ex- 
tant regarding this place. 

In the time of Henry VIII., Eosscarbery belonged 
to Mac Carthy Eeagh. A. D. 1600 a detachment 
from the garrison at Kinsale commanded by Sir 
Eicbard Percy, marched into Carbery with the in- 
tention of attacking Eoss, but finding the place too 
strongly fortified, they made a detour to Leap, and 
a sudden raid on Kilcoe (Aughadown), one of the 
M'Carthy castles, a few miles to the west of Skibbe- 
reen ; they seized on 300 head of cattle, and desolated 
the country as much as they could. 


228 Sketches in Carhery. 

In 1642 MacCartliy of Benduff captured the town 
of Eoss and laid siege to Bathbarry Castle (the 
ancient seat of the Barrys in Carhery), now Castle 
Freke, which was bravely defended for some months 
by Arthur Freke, the proprietor ; he was on the, 
point of surrendering, when he was relieved by Sir 
Charles Vavasour and Captain Jephson, who escorted 
Freke and his garrison safely to Bandon, having first 
set fire to the castle and its offices. 

Smith tells us that " On the 12th May, 1652, the 
garrison of Bosscarbery surrendered to the Parlia- 
ment's forces, after which everything remained quiet 
in the country for some time" (and not for a very 
long time either). It is a curious coincidence that 
nearly about the same time Boss Castle, Killarney, 
was surrendered to General Ludlow, one of Crom- 
well's generals, by Lord Musketry ; both of whjgh 
events were the closing scenes in the _ sanguinary 
and prolonged strife of the Cromwellian wars in 

Ireland. ... 

The forfeited lands of Bathbarry and the vicinity, 
formerly the property of the Barrys and O'Heas, 
were granted to William Penn, Philip Perceval, and 
the Duke of York, and the town of Bosscarbery to 
Captain Bobert Gookin. 

In " Carbrice Notitia" the writer states that the 
O'Heas possessed a tract of land in Barryroe, called 
"Pobble O'Hea." Bathbarry he describes as a 
large stately pile belonging to the Barrys Ahamilly 
Castle (ford of the hornless cows), near Clonakilty, 
belonged to the O'Heas, whilst the seven castles of 
Dundeedy,Dunowen,Dunore, Doneen, Duno-Cowig, 
Dunworley, and Dungorley, built on the bold head- 
lands of Ibaune and Barryroe, belonged to the 
O'Cowhigs (victorious), but now nearly extinct. 

Sketches in Carbcry. 


Ross was garrisoned in the time of James II. by 
the Irish forces under General MacCarthy, and was 
reconnoitred by a detachment of William III.'s 
army ; the latter considered the place impregnable, 
and bidding it a hasty adieu, marched off to 

Large military barracks were formerly erected 
at Ross in close proximity to the site of St. Fachnan's 
Monastery. These barracks where so many warlike 
garrisons had been stationed from time to time 
during the stirring events of the last two centuries, 
and which changed masters as often as the fortunes 
of war veered from one side to the other, are now in 
a semi-ruinous condition. Here lived formerly, after 
the military had evacuated the place, a branch of 
the O'Donovan (the Island branch), to whom the 
town of Rosscarbery belonged, under a lease, from 
the end of the 18th century up to within the last ten 
years ; and here also was born in December, 1807, 
Dr. Donovan, senior, of Skibbereen. 

Ross, like many other ancient towns in Ireland, 
gradually diminished in size, and declined in pros- 
perity, not keeping pace with the times, owing to 
the constantly disturbed state of the country, which 
interfered with the proper development of industrial 
resources. About sixty-five years ago it was the 
busy centre of a colony of linen weavers, and a 
considerable trade flourished in that line. After 
the decline of the linen manufactures, the prosperity 
of the town was also on the wane. Latterly, how- 
ever, there has been some advance in improve- 

It is an often told and trite but true saying that 
"Fact is stranger than fiction." The following 
story, founded not only on tradition but also on 

230 Sketches in Carbery. 

written testimony, bears out the adage in its fullest 
sense, and certainly it is of so startling a character' 
as at first not only to excite doubt but also disbelief 
in the minds of the most imaginative and credulous 

There lived in Bandon during the years 1692-1738 
a clergyman named Eichard Goodman, who was 
vicar of Ballymodan, and whose father, the Rev. 
Thomas Goodman, was Precentor of Bosscarbery. 
The wife of the former was attacked by a low 
fever, and fell into . a state of suspended anima- 
tion, or " trance," as it is commonly called. She 
was supposed at the time to be dead, and was ac-' 
cordingly coffined and conveyed to Boss cathedral, 
where she was interred in the family vault. Mr. 
Goodman's butler, who observed a valuable diamond 
ring on one of the fingers, had his avaricious pro- 
pensities excited, and concealing himself in the 
cathedral whilst the funeral service was going on, 
he proceeded stealthily, when night approached, to 
secure the coveted prize. Upon opening the coffin 
the body presented a swollen appearance, and the 
ring being tightly fastened on the finger, the butler 
was compelled to use his penknife in order to get 
possession of the ring. To his amazement and 
horror, when the blood flowed from the first incision, 
the supposed corpse, reanimated into life by the sud- 
den violence and the current of fresh air, raised her- 
self into a sitting posture, and immediately put to 
flight the covetous midnight marauder, who must have 
imagined his last earthly moments had arrived. 

Mrs. Goodman became gradually resuscitated, and 
when morning broke she was removed from the 
vault, and was in a short time restored to her former 
health by nourishment and care. She lived for 

Sketches in Carboy. 


several years after this strange occurrence, and even 
had an addition to her family — a son named John 
Goodman, of whom Smith gives the following notice 
in " The History of Cork : "— 

" Mr. John Goodman, of Cork, died in January, 
1747, but what is remarkable of him, his mother 
was interred, whilst she lay in a trance ; having been 
buried in a vault, which she found means to open, 
she walked home, and this Mr. Goodman was born 
some time after." 

A large oil painting of Mrs. Goodman is still in 
existence. On the back -is a short manuscript 
account of the strange story we have been de- 

As the question of Trance is an interesting study, 
it may be well to furnish some information from 
trustworthy sources on this unusual condition of 
animal existence. In Carpenter's work on "Human 
Physiology " are supplied some remarks on the sub- 
ject which we copy in detail : — 

" Another form of apparent deatb, the existence of which 
appears to be well authenticated, is that sometimes desiguated 
as Trance or Catalepsy, in which there is a reduction of all the 
organic functions to an extremely low ebb, but in which con- 
sciousness is still preserved, whilst the power of voluntary move- 
ment is suspended ; so that the patient, although fully aware of 
all that is being said and done around, is unable to make the 
least visible or audible sound of life, &c. The surest test by 
which real is certainly distinguishable from apparent death, is 
by the condition of the muscular substance, for this gradually 
loses its irritability after real death, so that it can no longer be 
excited to contraction by electricity or any other kind of stimu- 
lation, and the loss of irritability is succeeded by cadaveric 
rigidity. So long, then, as the muscle retains its irritability, 
and remains free from rigidity, so long we may say with cer- 
tainty that it is not dead, and the persistence of its vitality for 
an unusual period affords a presumption in favour of the con- 

232 Sketches in Carboy. 

tinuance of some degree of vital action- in the body generally ; 
whilst, on tlie other hand, the entire loss of irritability, and the 
supervention of rigidity afford conclusive evidence that death 
has occurred, &c. The most satisfactory proof, however is 
putrefaction. The supposed suspension of heart's action and 
of respiration are fallacious. 

"Collection of cases from Mr. Braid, obtained from British 
officers in India, who have been eye witnesses (observations on 
Trance or Human Hybernation, 1850). 

" In one of these, vouched for by Sir Blande M. Wade (for- 
merly political agent at the court of Rungeet Singh), the Fakeer 
was buried in an underground cell, under strict guardianship 
for six weeks; the body had been thrice dug up by Runo-eet 
Singh during the period of interment, and had been found in 
the same position as when first buried. 

"In another case stated by Lieut. Boileau in his 'Narrative 
of a Journey in Jagwarra in 1835,' the man had been buried 
for ten days in a grave lined with masonry, and covered with 
large slabs of stone, and strictly guarded, and he assured Lieut. 
B. that he was ready to submit to an interment of twelve months' 
duration if desired. In a third case narrated by Mr. Braid,W 
trial was made under the direct superintendence of a British 
officer, a period of nine days having been stipulated for on the 
part of the devotee, but this was shortened to three, at the desire 
of the officer, who feared lest he should incur blame if the result 
was fatal. _ The appearance of the body when first disinterred is 
described, in all instances, as having been quite corpse-like, and 
no pulsation could be detected in the heart or in the arteries. 
The means of restoration employed were chiefly warmth to the 
vortex, and friction to the body or limbs. It may be remarked 
that the possibility of the protraction of such a state (supposing 
that no deception vitiates the authenticity of the narrative re- 
ferred to) can be much better comprehended as occurring in 
India, than having taken place in this country, since the warmth 
of the tropical atmosphere would prevent any serious loss of 
heat, such as must sooner occur in a colder climate, when the 
processes whereby it is generated are brought to a stand." 

Many other cases of Trance might be referred to 
to prove that Mrs. Goodman's was neither impossible 
or even exceptional in its nature. "VVe will merely 

Sketches in Carbery. 233 

select one more, which, strange to say, partakes 
somewhat of a humorous character. The description 
is taken from an ancient magazine : — 

"In connection with the subject of unxpected reanimation, 
the case of Sir Hugh Ackland, of Kellerton, Devonshire, may 
be mentioned as most extraordinary. This gentleman was 
seized with a violent fever, and having apparently expired had 
been laid out as dead. The nurse and two footmen were 
appointed to sit up through the night to watch the corpse. 
Lady Ackland, to cheer them, had sent them a bottle of brandy, 
whereupon one of the footmen, ' being an arch rogue,' said to 
the other, ' master dearly loved brandy when he was alive, and 
now, though he is dead, I am determined he shall have a glass 
with us 1 ' Accordingly he poured out a bumper, and forced it 
down Sir Hugh's throat. A gurgling noise immediately ensued, 
accompanied with a violent motion of the neck and upper part 
of the chest. A terrible consternation seized the watchers, who 
rushed violently down stairs, ' the brandy genius' with such 
speed that he fell, and rolled head-over-heels, bumping down 
from step to step till he reached the bottom; while the nurse 
screamed with terror. The noise having roused a young gentle- 
man, who was sleeping in the house, he immediately got up 
and went to the room where the noise had first begun. There 
to his astonishment he saw Sir Hugh sitting upright in the bed. 
He summoned the servants, and ordering them to place their 
master in a warm bed, sent off for his medical attendants. In 
a few weeks Sir Hugh was restored to perfect health, and 
lived many years afterwards. He often used to relate this 
strange story of his own resuscitation by his footman's facetious 
conceit, for which he is said to have bequeathed him a handsome 

TJp to the year 1748 Boss remained as a 
separate and distinct Eoman Catholic diocese : it 
was then joined to Cloyne, and remained so until 
the Synod of Thurles, 1851, when it was restored to 
its original independent position. The late amiahle 
and accomplished Eight Eev. Dr. Keane was the 
first bishop under the new regime, and he was sue- 

234 Sketches in Carbery. 

ceeded by the present esteemed bishop, the Bight 
Eev. Dr. O'Hea (1858), who is a worthy and dis- 
tinguished successor to the long line of illustrious 
prelates who have preceded him in the See of Ross. 

That ancient See, indeed, is both venerable and 
renowned; venerable by reason of the lengthened 
period (thirteen centuries) which has elapsed since 
it was first established by St. Fachnan, and renowned 
for the sanctity, learning, and philanthropy of those ; 
great and pious prelates, like St. Fachnan, De Cour- 
cey, O'Herlihy, andMacEgan, the lustre of whose 
names, and the memory of whose bright deeds, are 
neither obscured nor dimmed by age but shine forth 
even now with more than redoubled splendour. 

The present Roman Catholic church, a handsome, 
commodious building, was erected by the Eev. Jere- 
miah Molony, P. P., who also was instrumental in 
building schools for the education of children. He 
was uncle to the present respected P.P. of Ross- 
carbery, the Eev. J. Molony, Y. Gr. of Eoss. . 

"Within the ancient graveyard of Ross what inte- 
resting, though sad, associations of the past are re- 
called to our minds ! What memories are awakened, 
when we reflect that we stand on holy ground, 
where many centuries ago an ancient monastery 
flourished, whose occupants were men of distin- 
guished piety and learning ; and that here rest the 
honoured remains of many of our countrymen, whose 
noble aspirations and good acts are deserving of 
more than a passing tribute of affectionate remem- 
brance and praise. 

The old term, Ross Alithir (the Field or "Wood of 
Pilgrimage), may still be applied with some truth 
to the Rosscarbery of the present day. On the 24th 
June (St. John's eve) every year, may be observed 

Sk-'tches in Carbery. . -* 235 

crowds of devotees, from various parts of the south 
of Ireland, and even sometimes from England, 
wending their way to the tomh of the Rev. John 
Power, P. P., who died in 1831, and was buried 

He was a man of very amiable character, and said 
to have possessed some knowledge of the healing 
art, and, being greatly loved and respected by the 
people whilst he lived, his memory has been honoured 
by them since his death in a proportionate degree. 
On each anniversary of his birthday a large congre- 
gation assembles in the vicinity of the graveyard 
and around the tomb — the lame, the blind, the old 
and young, the healthy and sick, and destitute people 
soliciting alms. 

"Whilst some are praying and begging, others, who 
have come for amusement sake, or as sight-seers, are 
wandering about the town, laughing, eating, drink- 
ing, gossiping, and match-making. 

Of late years the numbers visiting the tomb on St. 
John's eve have fallen off somewhat. On St. John's 
night all the hills in the neighbourhood of Eoss, and, 
in fact, throughout the country, present a sight most 
interesting to the student of the picturesque and an- 
tique ; bonfires blaze in every direction. It shows 
how some of the old customs are still observed even 
in* the nineteenth century, and that the practice, 
whose origin carries us back into the shadowy past 
of over two thousand years ago, still lingers on at 
the present day. 

It is said by historians that St. Patrick, when 
converting the people of Ireland, engrafted several 
of the pagan rites on Christian observance so as to 
gradually smooth the way to a complete reform. 
One of the most ancient pagan superstitions was the 

236 Sketches in Carbery. 

lighting of the Bel-teine Fires on the 1st May, 
and also at the summer solstice. Yery few of 
the many thousands who kindled the bonfire on the 
hill-side, and leaped for merriment sake through the 
flickering blaze, are aware that similar customs were 
observed by their pagan ancestors. It is consoling, 
however, to reflect that whereas the Druids lit their 
fires to propitiate the fierce Baal, whose good 
graces they believed were only to be obtained by 
strange orgies, our modern fires were lit with the 
opposite intent, viz. : As so many beacons of joy 
and happiness to commemorate the advent of a 
saintly man, and not to inaugurate the unholy rites 
of a pagan deity. 

Deeper research, and perhaps more careful obser- 
vation will yet bring to light many interesting details 
connected with the local history and antiquities of 
Carbery. However, I am reminded that I have 
already carried to a sufficient length the series of 
sketches I have been engaged in writing. Many 
interesting circumstances, and perhaps some impor- 
tant facts have been either glossed over, or forgotten. 

I trust, however, that I have contrived in some 
degree to awaken the curiosity and satisfy the dis- 
criminating taste of those who take an interest in the 
ancient records and legendary lore of our native 

The student of history and the admirer of scenery 
will always find in every direction portrayed on the 
face of the country striking features, both natural 
and artistic, which are well deserving of notice, and 
worthy of being described, and the records of which 
can only be elucidated by close study and patient 

If I have been instrumental in affording either 

-, — __ 

Sketches in Garbery. 237 

amusement or instruction to my readers, whilst avoid- 
ing the introduction of any subject which could pro- 
duce hostile criticism ; and if, moreover, I have in the 
foregoing chapters supplied any matters of interest 
which might help them to "while away a leisure 
hour;" any time, or trouble, I may have devoted 
to the completion of "The Sketches in Carbery" 
will not pass away unrewarded. 



Ahekn, Walter, Inspector of Post Offices, Dublin. (4 copies.) 

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240 List of Subscribers. 

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Reordan, Mrs. Townsend- street, Skibbereen. (3 copies.) 
Riordan, Thomas, B. L. Lower Mount-street, Dublin. 
Raycroft, J. Townsend-stree't, Skibbereen. 

Somerville, Col., J. P. Castletownsend, Co. Cork. 
Somerville, James, M. D. Union Hall, Co. Cork. (3 copies.) 
Somerville, D. A. Ballincollig, Cork. (3 copies.) 
Somerville, Thomas, J. P. The Prairie, Schull. 
Sullivan, A.M., M. P. Dublin. (3 copies.) 
Sullivan, D. B., B. L. Dublin. 
St. Lawrence, Mrs. Castletownsend. (2 copies.) 
Starkie, William, R. M. Queenstown. 
Swanton, Robert. Ballybawn, Ballydehob. 
j.. Swanton, James H. Pembroke-road, Dublin. 

Sheehy, M., jun. Skibbereen. 
Sheehy, T. The Square, Skibbereen. 
Sheehan, Miss. Post Office, Leap. 
Starkey, William, M. D. Dublin. 
Stokes, Edward Day, J. P. Tralee, Co. Kerry. 
Sweeny, Owen. Farrenconner, Castletownsend. 
Shipsey, J. Cape Clear. 
Sullivan, J., P. L. G. Union Hall. 
Sheehan, Very Rev. Canon, P. P. Bantry. 

Townsend, John, J. P. Glandore. 
Troy, Kev, R., P. P. Castletownsend. 
Thacker, J. Molesworth-place, Dublin. 
Taylor, Mrs. Greenmount, Skibbereen. 

Waldo, Edward M. Stonewall Park, Kent. 

Walter, Henry. St. George's Hall, Liverpool. 

Wilson, Dr. Lower Baggot -street, Dublin. 

Wright, George, B. L. Lower Baggot-street, Dublin. 

AVright, Henry, solicitor. Clonakilty. 

Wade, Robert, M. D. Great Brunswick-street, Dublin. 

Welply, Miss. Upton House, Upton. (2 copies.) 

Wise, Charles, Rochestown, Co. Tipperary. 

Walsh, John. Rossogh, Skibbereen. (2 copies.) 

Walsh, J. Luriga, Skibbereen. (2 copies.) 

Printed by M'Glashan & GUI, 50, Upper SackvUle-st., Dublin. 



APR 98 

(Bound -To-Pleu^ N. MANCHESTER I 
INDIANA 46962 '